Textual Themes via Gallery Walk

By Rona Shaw on May 24, 2014

The goal of this lesson is to examine the themes Satrapi conveys in Persepolis and how those themes relate to (the students') human existence. The objective is to have students identify textual themes and defend the existence of those themes based on textual evidence and activation of schema. The motivation is to create a mindmap of all the big ideas that exist in the student's life.


  • Zoom Text
  • BrailleNote
  • JAWS
  • Accessibility feature on the iPad


  1. Whole class- Students work in pairs to Think-Pair-Share: Students share the life themes of their partners and teacher charts these in theme web on board. Students discuss: Why themes are important in life and in literature; whether themes are universal; whether themes are meaningful; whether themes are inevitabl
  2. Independent activity- Gallery Walk: Teacher has posted six ideas around the room (quotes, charts, photos, etc). Students are provided with post-it notes on which students are to walk to each thematic idea in room and write a comment which pertains to the theme on the post-it note. Students may chat with each other about the thematic ideas. Student places post-it note on the wall near the theme statement
  3. Whole class regroups. Teacher walks to each theme, selecting strong comments to prompt discussion, with emphasis on answering: What new observations were you able to make about the text and yourself during this exercise? How do these themes relate to Marjane's experiences?
  4. Each student walks to the thematic idea that most resonates with him/her on a personal and textual level and must be prepared to explain his/her reasoning


  1. Encourage classroom teacher to use Smartboard; use student's iPad (if s/he has one) to connect to Smartboard
  2. Gallery Walk- encourage classroom teacher to direct students to work in pairs, assuring that the student who is VI has a sighted partner who will read the posts aloud as well as guide VI student to each 'idea' space in the room. If pictures have been used for any of the 'ideas,' the sighted partner will describe them. 
  3. VI student verbally indicates to his partner or teacher that theme that most resonated with him/her, and is guided to that place in the room.

This lesson was adapted from a submission by Emily Hyland, formerly of Urban Assembly for Green Careers, NYC Board of Education

ELA Standards:

  • 9-10.RL.1 - Key Ideas and Details - Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • 9-10.RL.3 - Key Ideas and Details - Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
  • 9-10.RL.10 - Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity - By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 9–10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end o...

ELA Foundational Skills:

  • demonstrate strong reading comprehension skills
  • draw inferences

ELA Tips and Strategies:

  • to highlight relevant information in a text