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The Napping House

Alignments to Content Standards: K.CC.B.4



  • The Napping House by Audrey Wood 1_315eca931305ddb16e8d8ec6c2e22fbb
  • One ten-frame for each child (see PDF for black line master) 2_9ea8d1fc59690b98e45f419de2c965d0
  • 6-10 counters per child


The teacher reads The Napping House to the class, stopping each time a person or animal gets into the bed so the students can add a counter to the ten-frame. After each page, stop to ask the children how many are sleeping in the bed after each counter is added to the ten-frame. For example, at the beginning there should be 1 counter for granny. When the child gets in the bed, there should be 2 counters. Have the children tell how many people there are in the bed now. Do this after each counter is added to the ten-frame. There should be 6 counters on the ten-frame once the wakeful flea is added. Once the flea bites the mouse, the children should begin taking the counters off the ten-frame to represent how many people/animals are still in the bed. For example, once the flea bites the mouse, there are only 4 people/animals left in the bed. By the end of the story, there should be no counters on the ten-frame.

IM Commentary

The purpose of the task is for students to use the context of The Napping House to connect counting and cardinality. The teacher or students could also write a simple equation on the classroom dry-erase board each time another person or animal gets into the bed. This would connect counting to addition and subtraction for the students, and would connect with standard K.OA.1. For example, when the child gets in with granny, the equation would be 1+1=2 and so on for each animal added to the bed.

Students can be given 6 counters or 10 counters, depending on their ability level. Students who need more scaffolding should be given 6 counters so that they cannot accidentally miscount and place too many counters on the ten-frame. However, students who are proficient counters should be given 10 counters. This will make them responsible for accurately keeping the count.

The Standards for Mathematical Practice focus on the nature of the learning experiences by attending to the thinking processes and habits of mind that students need to develop in order to attain a deep and flexible understanding of mathematics. Certain tasks lend themselves to the demonstration of specific practices by students. The practices that are observable during exploration of a task depend on how instruction unfolds in the classroom. While it is possible that tasks may be connected to several practices, only one practice connection will be discussed in depth. Possible secondary practice connections may be discussed but not in the same degree of detail.

This particular task helps illustrate Mathematical Practice Standard 1, Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. Kindergartners are exposed to multiple problems through the story, The Napping House.  As students listen to the story they use counters on a ten frame to keep track of each additional person/animal who gets in the bed until the flea bites the mouse. Then the story changes to subtraction as people/animals start to leave the bed. Throughout this guided task, students are introduced to the processes of problem-solving in a non-threatening way. They are able to unpack the parameters of the problem by manipulating the counters one at a time. This allows them to make sense of the actions occurring in the story. These concrete objects help them to conceptualize and solve each problem as posed in the story. The teacher can guide this conceptualization by stopping after each action and asking questions such as, “What just happened in the story?” “How are we going to show that on our ten frames?” ”How many are in the bed now?” and “How do you know how many are in the bed?”