Farha has some cymbals you can borrow in class, but in order to practice at home, and to size the elastic to your fingers, you'll want to get your own. The first video has some tips for buying, the most important thing is that you like the sound of them, and they feel like they fit your hands.
If you have the single holed kind, you can just tie the elastic in a knot on the underside. Be sure to sew or tie on the inside of the cymbal, it's harder to access but will be less irritating to your fingers. Trimming the elastic keeps it from deadening the sound when you play. This video is from AzhaarDance.com, since I forgot to include it in the video I filmed ^_^
The video below shows the three main sounds you can get from your cymbals: the ring, the clap, and the tik.
When to hit your cymbals: Remember the way we divided the beat for shimmies into the down beat (1, 2, 3, 4...) the down and up beat ( 1 &, 2 &, 3 &, 4 &....) and then into 4 parts: 1 e & a, 2 e & a, 3 e & a, 4 e & a.....). To play "running singles", alternate hitting on each of the parts of the beat, just like when we shimmy. You'll want to start this practice with a slower song to let your fingers learn what to do.
I personally play with the dominant hand method. Meaning that, since I am right handed, I (usually) hit my right cymbals on both the down and the up beats, and my left cymbals during the "e"s and the "ah"s. If you are left handed, you'll reverse this. I do it because I want the down beat to be stronger, and because my dominant hand is going to be faster and more responsive, since the off beats are more likely to be left out when playing (see the gallop, below) playing this way means I can let my non-dominant hand work less. Some dancers play with an alternating hand method, which is better explained with the gallop:
The most common pattern you'll hear, is just like running singles, but it leaves out the "e" from the count. So it sounds like "and, ah, ONE, __, and, ah, TWO, __" OR (for a right handed person) "right, left, right, __, right, left, right, __" OR (for a left handed person "left, right, left, ___ left, right, left, __". Dancers who play the alternating hand method will switch off throughout this pattern: "right, left, right, ___, left, right, left, __". I find this method confusing, as it relates to the music, but that doesn't make it wrong, just not a good fit for me. NOTE: while you might say "one, two, three" when hitting the cymbals, in reference to the number of hits you are making, it is not what is happening in the music, and it is incorrect to play a gallop as "one, e, and __, two, e, and, __" (although modulation and playfulness can come MUCH latter, once cymbals are mastered, and later in a set once you've established that you know the rules you're breaking).
This post is meant as an introduction for level one students. But if you want a sneak peek into level two, you can download the rhythms handout here. I will only caution you to not let yourself get overwhelmed by too much information. Take it one step at a time, but know there are more steps to be taken ^_^