Parts of the body

A Vocabulary lesson with Speaking and Listening for Very Young learners


  • To introduce or revise parts of the body for immediate use. i.e. head, shoulders, knees, toes, eyes, ears, mouth, nose
  • To introduce related verbs for recognition. i.e. to eat, to smell, to hear, to see
  • To integrate storytelling into the lesson
  • To practise reading skill of sequencing


  • ‘Pebbles’ course book 2 (referred to at Primlangues website Resources Documents Didactisé Conte : Little Red Riding Hood
  • Flashcards for Little Red Riding Hood story (photocopy from course book onto card or use accompanying flashcards.) If the book is not available then you can print out the pictures from the website -http://www.dltk-kids.com/rhymes/littlered/1.htm
  • Masks for The grandmother, Little Red Riding Hood, The wolf. - Make these before the class – draw the face onto card, cut out eyes, attach a drinking straw to bottom.
  • Possible: Stick up a poster of the story before the class. This is available with ‘Pebbles’ course book 2.

Stage 1: Head Shoulder’s Knees and Toes (song)

To introduce body parts with a well-known song.

This enables children to learn, do and say at the same time.

  • Before singing the song see how much they know by simply putting your hands on your head. They should copy you!
  • You say ‘head’. With a sweeping gesture show them that you want them to repeat together. They should repeat. You say ‘Good’. Continue for all body parts from the song.
  • If possible have the children stand in a big circle or two lines with enough room between the two to bend down and touch their toes while they listen to and sing the song.
  • The first time just they just listen. Then they can join in with actions, then the third time they can sing and do.

Some may want to sing and do before, some may not want to join in at all. Both extremes are to be expected. The latter child will probably want to join in as the song continues so don’t force them to begin with. Many song books/cassettes have this song. My personal favourite is available on DVD or video from the Early Learning Centre. It’s a video of children doing the actions, singing the song with the words on the screen. It’s called ‘If you’re Happy and You Know it’.

Stage 2: The characters

After the excitement of an action song you’ll want them to settle down a bit before moving onto the story.

  • Take advantage of the fact that they’re all standing up and get them to sit in the storytelling corner, if there is one. If not, try and arrange to have an area where they can all sit down before the lesson starts.
  • Once they are sitting down you should sit in front of them on a chair and choose three children to come to the front and stand next to you. If they are having trouble sitting then maybe choose a couple of the noisier ones. They too will enjoy being picked for something. Do it quickly though before it turns into a reward for being noisy though.
  • Give them a mask each. Use the masks like this to introduce the characters.
  • Review body parts by pointing to the child wearing the wolf mask. Use the other masked children too, especially if the class are still having problems with the words.

Stage 3: Listening to the story

  • Use a long stick and tell the story with the poster pointing to the pictures as you read.
  • Otherwise use a ‘big book’ with the story in so all the children can see it.
  • If not you can reduce the pictures from the website http://www.dltk-kids.com/rhymes/littlered/1.htm stick them onto a sheet of paper and make an Over Head Transparency (OHT).
  • Failing that, use the flashcards you’ve made with the pictures and stick them in a line onto the board. Tell the story by walking alongside the board. Pointing to the pictures as you go.
  • Tell it again, encouraging the children to participate with the lines which are repeated. Really emphasize these lines in each reading.

Stage 4: Sequencing and re-telling the story

  • If you have used flashcards on the board then take them off and hand one to each of the pupils. If possible ask them to put them back onto the board in the correct order. Alternative for this is to photocopy sets of paper flashcards which they put into order in small groups of three or four.
  • If done in small groups they could have a look at the other groups orders to compare to their own before whole class feedback.
  • You could re-tell the story while they follow their pictures, participating if they want to, and make changes if necessary as you talk. Take it slowly and keep the pictures to a limited number of about 4 or 5. Make sure they are obvious parts of the story.
  • They could stick the pictures into their books in the correct order if you have time. Monitor and help where needed. This may take time with some classes as it involves glue etc.
  • Pack everything away and then re-tell the story once more if there is time, pausing to point out body parts vocabulary. You could have a volunteer to point to the pictures as you get to them in the story. They can say alone the key phrases this time.

Review Simon Says ‘Touch your head’ (settling action game):

  • Once they have tidied up put your hands onto you head as in stage 1. They should definitely copy now!
  • You say 'The wolf says touch you head' show them it’s Ok to touch your head. 'The wolf says touch your nose' show them it’s Ok to touch your nose.
  • Repeat three or four times. Then emphasize 'touch your head' without the ‘the wolf says’ and dramatically pretend to gobble up the ones who touch their head. You say 'No! The wolf didn’t say to do it' with a big smile 'So… The wolf says touch your head' and emphasize. Then say 'Great well done' to those who touch their heads.

They have the same game in French so they should catch on quickly. You can use this game at other times to settle the class, for putting their coats on if you have them before break or at the end of the day etc. Also great for revising other vocabulary e.g. classroom objects etc.


  • They could tell someone at home about the story they did in class. Actually write and distribute homework slips to stick into books saying just that ‘Tell someone…'. This will encourage parents to ask about the story and give the children an opportunity to re-live the story – in their own way. They can use the sequencing flashcards stuck in their books to help.
  • They could colour in a worksheet with pictures of today’s vocabulary.
  • For older children you could get them to label a person and a face that you’ve drawn or get them to draw and label themselves.
  • Distribute the song sheet and leave a note telling them to practise the song at home.

Recommendations for follow up:

You can and should review the story, song and action game later on, maybe next lesson or in a couple of weeks.

Using the CIEP website you could have a follow up lesson or an alternative introductory lesson for body parts. Here they use ‘A Snowman’ as the body.
Fiche 9A’ gives you ideas of what to do in class. ‘Fiche B’ gives you a photocopiable worksheet where you can say ‘draw the eyes’ and they draw them onto the worksheet. This is called picture dictation.Depending on the age and word recognition abilities you can leave or remove the words on the side to be matched with the drawing of the body parts.

You can also take your class into the computer room and let them listen to the song about a melting snowman which they could then act out themselves if you were to bring in some hats. The snowman http://www.ciep.fr/malletgb/fiches.htm

Internet links:

An alternative print out can be found at:

For alternative ideas for the story go to:
http://www.dltk-kids.com/rhymes/littlered/1.htm You would need to completely cut down the actual story here – use it for ideas only. What is important is a few set phrases that are repeated. e.g. 'What big eyes you have!' 'Yes, so I can see you better.' 'What big ears you have!' 'Yes, so I can hear you better!' etc

By Jo Bertrand

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