We placed 10 owls in a line on the carpet. Then we reread the story and acted it out using the owls. Different students took turns "flying" the owls away and then counting the owls that were left.
We also used the owls to practice number cardinality and number conservation. I moved the owls around in different ways and asked how many owls there were each time to make sure my students understood that since I did not add any or take any away there was still the same number.
I made up problems and my students used the owls to find the answers to my questions. For example, "There are 4 owls sitting in the tree, how many talons are in the tree?" The student who answered the question shared how they solved the problem and modeled it for the class.
After we solved several problems together my students solved a problem on their own. I like how the student below actually labeled her answer by drawing eyes beside it. You can download this recording sheet from Google Docs.
This is how we made the owls:
I gave each student 1 6X6 square for wings, 2 3X3 squares for eyes, 2 2X2 squares for the black part of the eyes, 4 1 1/2X1/2 squares for feathers.
I had my students clip the corners and round to make circles out of all of these pieces.
Then I gave them a brown 9X12 piece of construction paper. They clipped the bottom corners and rounded. Then they drew a "U" at the top and cut on their line.
They glued everything they had together. Then they added wiggle eyes.
I gave them a pre-cut beak and talons. They glued those on last.