I have used this with my students who are working on taking turns in conversation or working on connecting with others in conversation. It is a visual and tactile understanding of what it means to link into others through conversation. I have done it a couple of different ways. For the first way I put the links in a bowl in the middle of the table or the circle on the floor. Then I start the conversation and if a student adds to my statement with a follow up question or statement they get to pick one from the bowl and make their own link chains or add to my original link that I put down with the first statement. The other way I have done it is to give each student five links and then throughout the conversation they have to make five follow up statements or questions in order to get rid of their links. Both ways serve their purposes. I have also used it with blurters to visually LIMIT the amount of time that they may add statements to the conversation in order for others to speak. This works well in an elementary setting or in a lower functioning social skills classroom at the secondary level.
We have also had one person stand up in the front of the classroom with their first link and tell something about their weekend. Then students ask follow up questions about the sharing and get to come up and link together in front of the class.