Teaching Guide Blue & Yellow


Starting Ritual - suggested time: 1-5 minutes

It might be a Hello song, stretching, a poem, etc. Make it yours! 

  • It's a way of starting the lesson that they come to expect and look forward to each week.

  • It sets the tone for the lesson. 

  • It focuses them and gets them doing something as a group, fosters team spirit.

  • It signals the beginning of the session, putting their brains and bodies in English mode.

  • It's fun!

Here are some ideas below:

CONCENTRATION (link to audio)​

This game is a great way of reviewing vocabulary and having some fun. Having at least around 15 vocabulary words to practice is ideal. Subjects can be, for example, verbs, clothes, family, US States, past tense verbs, classmates (in the room), animals, jobs...the list is endless. Students sit in a circle ideally, but can also be done in rows of desks. The rhythm of the game is tap tap clap clap (tapping on laps and clapping hands). Class keeps up the rhythm while Teacher says the opening rhyme:

Let's play


No repeats or


Subject is 


Starting with 


Then on the very next tap tap, Kathryn must say a verb, followed by the next student when they tap their lap. If anyone repeats a word that was already said that round, or hesitates and doesn't say their word when they tap their lap, they're out. Play a few rounds...if group is large, no need to play until everyone is out. 5 minutes is enough.


When teaching this game for the first time, ask the kids, "Are we going to make a lot of noise when we tap and clap?"


"Are we going to speed up and go faster?"


"Good, that makes it more difficult. Are we going to listen carefully to what each person says?" 


"Ok great, let's start."

WHO STOLE THE COOKIE? (link to audio)

Teacher designates the first student. Let's go with Marie for this example. 


Class: Marie stole the cookie from the cookie jar!

Student: Who me? 

Class: Yes, you. 

Student: Couldn't be!

Class: Then, who? 


Student chooses a new person (in rhythm if possible! Gotta learn to be quick!): Philippine! 


Class: Philippine stole the cookie...

DOWN BY THE BANKS RHYME (link to audio)

Group sits or stands in a circle with everyone's right hands on top of their neighbor's left hand. One person claps their neighbor's right hand with their right hand and so on, passing the clap around the circle (like when fans do the wave in a sports stadium). The student whose hand is clapped on the word "pop!" is out each round. 


Down by the banks of the hanky panky 

where the bullfrogs jump from bank to banky

singing eep opp, eep opp opp

skiddle diddle curdle pop!


Down by the banks where the waters are fresh,

a boy named John passed the test

singing eep opp, eep opp opp

skiddle diddle curdle pop!


Down by the banks where the waters are cool,

a girl named Jane went to school

singing eep opp, eep opp opp

skiddle diddle curdle pop!

Feel free to add more verses!

Down by the banks where the waters are _______,

a girl/boy named _________________________

singing eep opp, eep opp opp

skiddle diddle curdle pop!



​This is a great fun song to practice the months of the year and enjoy a little silliness. Children can learn and sing one or two verses a month, working up to the whole song by the end of the year. 

If you know any other Starting Ritual activities, please let us know!


Warm-up - suggested time: 1-2 minutes

Create intrigue about the lesson with a statement, question, song, funny dance to spark the student’s imagination before showing them any flashcards or academic material.


Lots of ideas here!

Warmups (No Prep Warm-up Activities)

Flashcards - suggested time: 15 - 20 minutes

Week 1 Group Focus - This is the first week of the new vocabulary, allow time for students to receive and absorb. Don’t expect them to already know anything. Spoonfeed them the vocab, stress correct pronunciation. Focus on group learning as a whole - class repetition, easy games.


Week 2 Shift towards Individual Focus -  This is the second week of the vocabulary, start calling on individual students to name flashcards and produce language. Keep a log of who participates and answers. Encourage each student to participate individually over the course of 2-3 weeks.


Show the flashcards one by one. (Choose how many words your group is capable of. No need to do all of them if too challenging.) Repeat the vocabulary several times. Use your voice rhythmically, melodically and playfully to instill the vocabulary. Then play a game. Take this time to also teach or reinforce the target sentences.



  • In the Blue and Yellow Programs, sometimes the vocab can be a bit more abstract. Through gestures and miming, help students understand what the words mean. Check understanding by describing it in English and see if they can tell you the equivalent word in French.

Sing a Song - suggested time: 5-10 minutes

Songs are an essential, integral part of the lesson. Don’t skip it! It’s proven that music aides language learning for students of all ages.


  • If possible, show the song that coincides with the lesson on your laptop, tablet or phone.  Allow them just to watch, listen and enjoy. 

  • If there is a part of the song that they can sing along to, pre-teach this before showing the video. Simple pleasure is an important part of the lesson! 

  • (If in a classroom where you have access to the computer and projector, please show the song large on the whiteboard! If not possible to show the song, sing for them with gestures as appropriate.)



Storytime - suggested time: 10-15 minutes

  1. Think about the layout of the students in the classroom. Can everyone easily see the book? For example, if your kids are sitting in a semicircle, ask the kids on the ends to come sit on the floor in the middle so they can see more easily.

  2. Show the pictures as you read either holding the book to the side or having it on your lap and reading upside down...kids are usually impressed by this skill. ;-)

  3. Before reading, give the students something to anticipate - What does this character discover? Why are they sad? How many ___ did you see? etc. Point to the corresponding parts of the pictures as you read key vocabulary words pertaining to the theme.

  4. If there is any repetition in the book, teach this beforehand and encourage the kids repeat with you each time. 

  5. Read the storybook. Take your time. Allow students time to take in the pictures and words. Depending on your group, pause to let them point out words they recognize or pause before the book, or in the middle, and see if anyone has a guess as to the unfolding of the story.

  6. Don’t translate! Tell the children not to worry if they don’t understand everything. Reassure them that it’s normal when learning a language, they are doing a great job and will learn naturally with time. Encourage them to follow and enjoy the story by looking at the pictures, listening to your voice and watching your gestures/body language. 

HandOuts - suggested time: 15-20 minutes

While you have their attention, show the handout to the class before giving it to them and/or before sending them to their desks. Explain clearly what you are going to do and if there is anyone who doesn’t understand. If so, explain again. Do one or two examples together. Make sure the students have the tools (knowledge and pencils or markers) to execute the handout on their own with success.


Ending Ritual - suggested time: 1-5 minutes

Like the beginning ritual, the ending ritual unifies your group and closes the lesson. It should be a fun and positive bookend, helping the kids to leave on a high. 


Here are some ideas below:



It's Time to Go Home / The Singing Walrus (put on English subtitles)



Teacher: See you later, Alligator! 

Class: In a while, Crocodile! 

All: See you soon, Big Baboon!


Sit or stand in a circle. Ask each child to say something they liked about today’s class and time. It could be something about an activity they enjoyed, a new thing they learned, something about other classmates, themselves, the group or the teacher, good behaviour or a good achievement.


Write two lists on the board. The second list can be any list of topics you think your students will be open to talking about. (You can change the lists to reflect what you’ve been learning in your lessons.)


  1. What? Where? When? Why? How? How many?

  2. Music, Sports, Friends, Weekend, School, Food


Put students into pairs or groups of three and give each of them a die. Students take it in turns to roll the die once for the question word and once for the subject and then ask a student a question about that theme. (die is the singular of dice! Just in case that was weird.)

PLAY HEADS UP! (application on phone needed)




Thank you and Goodbye - suggested time: 30 seconds

Thank your students for their time, presence, energy, attitudes. Let them know appreciation goes both ways. Merci and au revoir are magic words, rigorously taught here in France. There is a place for this in our classes too. We are with the kids only a short time each week, but we also deserve respect and politeness, as do they. 


  • A tip from Melody: I like to have my students line up. Then we put our palms together in front of our hearts and bow Japanese style. I say “Thank you” and they repeat and then I say “Goodbye” and they repeat. Then I open the door and we leave. 

  • For older kids, I say, “Thank you for your attention and for being here today.” I teach the kids how to respond, “Thank you for teaching us.” 

  • Feel free to find your own way of saying goodbye to your class. 

Lesson Checklist Details

  • Conscious Transition (CT) - Did I instruct students on how to transition from one activity to another before asking them to move?

  • Teacher Talk (TT) - How much am I speaking/? How am I allowing my students to practice speaking? Am I concise in explanation and speaking at a level that my students understand?

  • Behaviour issues: If there is disrespect or disruption of the class, put the child’s name on the board in the first 5 - 10 minutes of the class. If the child is then participating well for 10 minutes, thank them and erase their name from the board. Quick to give, generous to take away.


  • Before you have the students watch the video ask a pertinent question to ensure they engage and listen well. You may also discuss the title with them before and see if they know what it might be about.


  • Make sure everyone is engaging and getting a turn in the games. Play several different games with different goals. For example: Charades for speaking; Hangman for spelling and writing; Chinese Whispers for listening; Missing Flash Card for reading and speaking.