Flannel Friday: Bears in the Bed

I realized I had forgotten to blog about giving this classic flannelboard an Early Math Makeover when I was organizing my sets after switching libraries back in April. Then I forgot about it… until I worked on my CLEL conference presentation in October. Then I forgot about it AGAIN… until I used these bears last December for a school outreach storytime. Third time’s the charm!


Flannelboard: Seven bears of various felt colors lay on top of a bed.

I’m sure you’ve all seen these bears in the bed before. The classic song goes a little something like this:

There were ten in the bed and the little one said,
“Roll over! Roll over!”
So they all rolled over and one fell out…

When I gave my flannelboard an Early Math Makeover, I made a bunch of bears in different colors, sizes and types. Some are large, some are small, and some are in-between. Some bears have bowties, some have hairbows, and some have no bows at all. These differences offer opportunities for rich early math conversation beyond the classic subtraction story, such as…

  • How are these teddy bears the SAME/DIFFERENT?
  • Which bear is the BIGGEST/SMALLEST?
  • Which kind of bear do we have the MOST/LEAST OF?

Here are some more tips to interrupt the rote counting routine and help your storytime audience develop a meaningful understanding of numbers:

  • Start off with a number besides 5 or 10 sometimes! There are so many wonderful numbers in our number system.
  • Ask the kiddos to show you how many bears with their fingers.
  • Make sure to always state the WHAT as well as the HOW MANY (e.g. three bears, not just three).
  • Pause after a few bears have fallen off the bed and ask the audience, “Do we have MORE bears on the floor… or MORE bears on the bed?”
  • Roll different quantities off the bed, not just one bear each time! Adapt the verse: “…so they all rolled over and SOME fell out.”

FF Bears in the Bed 2

Flannelboard: Four bears lay on the floor; three bears remain on the bed.

I’ve said it once, I’ve said it twice, I’ve said it almost every Flannel Friday: variety is the spice of life… and the secret to a great math flannelboard!

Ready to give your bears a makeover? Here’s a free flannel template for the bears:

FF Teddy Bear Blanket Template

And I used this free template from Fun Learning Printables for the bed!

Interested in sharing your own fun flannels? Submit your ideas anytime to the Flannel Friday Tumblr! Looking for more inspiration? Browse the Flannel Friday Pinterest Boards! Want to connect with fellow crafty folk? Join the Flannel Friday Facebook Group!

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