I start by having them sing the songs before we start. It is difficult to do both at the same time.
I use this book because it has many folk songs with 2 and 3 chords that use the chords that are most useful for a beginner.
I found these large chord cards on the Ukulele in the classroom site. I post them on the wall and made a promethean to project them. Get your cards HERE.
I start by teaching the C chord and G7 and then do a bunch of 2 chord songs. I have found that if you teach them how to read the chord chart, chords are not too hard to figure out. The hard part is getting good at moving back and forth from one chord to the next. Every class period, I start by working on chord changing-- doing 8 beats per chord and then moving to the next. That is the best way to get them to really learn.
I then teach the F chord and do three chord songs, still reviewing the chord changing and our 2 chord songs.
As we get closer to the end of the year, I teach them e minor and a minor and for the past two years, about 30 students have accompanied Somewhere Over the Rainbow, the IZ version. I have had auditions since we only have 30 ukulele's. The rest sing.
This year, I plan to have the students also sing "The Cup song" with Rootbeer instead of whiskey used in it. Some students will do the actual cup game while other play the ukulele and everyone sings. I am going to have all of the students do hand clapping to it as well.