Teaching Guide


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:

A HELLO SONG is great. Here are some options. Please choose the one you think is best adapted to your group. If desired, starting rituals can change once per trimester.  ​


Maternelle & Young Primary


Young Primary only





  • Play Hangman with a vocabulary word from the previous week

  • Play Telephone (good for CP - CE2) with a vocabulary word from the previous week (Sit in a circle if possible or stand shoulder to shoulder in a line. Explain that you can only hear the word once and then you need to pass it to the next person. Teacher whispers a vocabulary word in the ear of one child, who then whispers it to the next child, all the way down the line. The last child says the vocabulary word outloud … see if it is the same word you started with! 

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


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 and do the work for them. If they are capable and ready, they will want to say the words on their own. Focus on group learning as a whole - class repetition, easy games.


Week 2 Gentle shift towards Individual Focus - This is the second week of the vocabulary, allow students to raise their hands to name a flashcard. 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.


Playful Tips

  • Go backwards and forwards with the words as you’re showing them, adding a new one each time. When kids start to know the order, skip a card to surprise them. 

  • A tip from Kae: Put the card low down to the ground to indicate whispering, chest-level to indicate normal volume, above your head to indicate a shout! Kids love to play with volume. 


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.


Week 1

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

  2. Now, teach the kids the lyrics that they can sing along with and any gestures (TPR). Check the meaning of some words for the older ones to help them understand what they are singing.

  3. The second time have the students sing along. Have them stand up and move around if it works for that song. Use TPR to emphasize specific vocabulary.


Week 2 - suggested time 2 - 5 minutes

  1. Sing the song again with gestures



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.


  1. 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. ;-)


  1. 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.


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


  1. Read the story book. 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.


  1. 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 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 as it helps them solidify what they have learned. It should be a fun and positive bookend to the lesson, helping the kids to leave on a high. 


Here are some ideas below:


Maternelle & Young Primary

  • Bye Bye Goodbye

  • See you later, Alligator (rather than singing along, have kids repeat after each line. At the end of the song when the music goes down, go from standing to crouching, then jump up for the last goodbye!)


Young Primary only

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.


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.