Starting Rituals


Hello Songs work for young groups of children, but older primary kids and students in collège need something a bit different, a bit cooler. ;) 

  • 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 till 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!

Song: Chicken Soup with Rice link to video

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!