Paper chains with purpose

Everyone loves making paper chains, especially during the holidays.  Here is a new way to use those paper chains.  Try using those paper chains to countdown the days to Christmas (or to winter break for students who don’t celebrate Christmas).

In our class, we start with chains that are 25 links long on December 1st (our strips are 8.5″ long by 1.5″ wide).  As patterning part of our curriculum, we talk about all the different patterns we can make out of two different colours (AB, AAB, ABB, AABB, ABBB, etc.).  When they are done, we then hang them up on the wall, spread out around the classroom so that each child can easily get to his or her chain each morning or afternoon.

chain patternsEach day, we count the links left on our chains and then take off as many as needed (usually one per day but after a weekend, it may be 2 or 3).  We then count to see how many are left.  On the strips that we ripped off, we practice printing numbers.  (With older students, I would have them write a number sentence like “25-3=22” but with younger ones, we count and if there are 22 days left until Christmas, for example, we might practice writing “22” over and over again on one of the strips we just ripped off.

As our countdown continues, we get to watch our chains get shorter and shorter and shorter, we practice printing meaningful numbers for a purpose that is motivational for students, we count backwards (which, by the time we are close to 10, students have figured out the pattern and really understand what is happening) and in just 2 minutes a day.

Do you have a favourite way to count down to something special in your classroom?

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One comment on “Paper chains with purpose

  1. heather says:

    love this idea! i am going to try it at home to bring visual life to the idea of counting down the sleeps til christmas. thanks!

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