Fifth graders, kindergartners connect ESH and Blaine with paper chain


Macy Beal

Bundled up, the students of Stephanie Mitzenmacher's fifth grade class stroll excitedly down 59th Street, carrying bags of many-colored paper chains. The class connected a chain between Blaine Hall and Earl Shapiro Hall, working with their kindergarten buddies in Delores Rita and Deb Del Campo’s class.

Tea Tamburo and Leland Culver

The biting January air doesn’t seem to faze the bundled-up fifth graders of Stephanie Mitzenmacher’s class, as they tote bags filled with colorful paper chains almost as big as they are. On the morning of Jan. 22, the class is making its way along 59th Street, where they will meet their buddies from Delores Rita and Deb Del Campo’s kindergarten class halfway between Blaine Hall and Earl Shapiro Hall to connect their paper chains, forming a continuous link between the two buildings.

Photos provided by Stephanie Mitzenmacher

The students started to link the chains between the two buildings and successfully did so about an hour later. Half the fifth graders started connecting the chain halfway between Blaine and ESH, while the others expanded the chain, in opposite directions, toward the two locations. 

Ms. Mitzenmacher’s class decided in late October to undertake this, after several students made paper chains to decorate the classroom for Halloween. 

According to Ms. Mitzenmacher, one student wanted to see how long the chain he made was. He wanted to make it span the length of the hallway. Then world records were researched, and that led students to think of something big they could do.

“We found out our little buddies have also been making paper chains, because they were learning about patterns,” Ms. Mitzenmacher said, “and then we started making chains together with them and decided that we would figure out how long of a chain it would take to connect our two buildings.”

Measurements were made, and the distance was discovered to be around a half mile. Ms. Mitzenmacher’s class also had help from Catherine Mannering and Diane Bloom’s fifth-grade students to create their portion of the chain. Several of Ms Mitzenmacher’s students also built chains at home and brought them to school. 

“It went great!” Ms. Mitzenmacher said. “Despite the blustery weather and many small breaks that got repaired in the process, we were able to build our chain out from our meeting spot in the middle.”