The first day of practicum, I walked into my fifth grade classroom and immediately saw a colorful chain that went over halfway around the room. I thought maybe it was a chain of the number of days of school they’ve had, but it was too long for that. I thought perhaps it could be a decoration that was never taken down, but that didn’t seem right either. I couldn’t help my curiosity. I had to ask my mentor teacher what this chain was actually for!
My mentor teacher explained that it was a reading chain. The three fifth-grade teachers came up with this idea to teach different book genres, as well as encourage students to read. Each genre is a different color. When students finish a book, they fill out a link with the title of their book and their name and add it to the chain. After every ten books a student reads, the student gets to add a silver link to the chain. As the students added links and the chain grew, they were always excited and felt a great sense of accomplishment as they watched their teacher pin the chain to the ceiling.
The class is hoping to make the chain long enough to wrap around the entire room by the end of the school year. If they do this, they get a party of their choice. My mentor teacher’s class chose a chip party. They are now almost three-fourths of the way around the room with over 200 links on their chain. This is the work of 20 fifth-graders who have now grown to love reading and are on their way to earn their party at the end of the year. I love this idea because it is a such a fun way to learn about the different genres of books while also getting students excited to read!