When I'm working with the elements (of course not making them do anything, but just really connecting with them) what I do is meditate. I close my eyes, ground myself and imagine a yellow or electric blue light, warm and glowing starting in my feet and growing up my legs, then my sides, up to my chest, through my arms and finally my head. It's really just an exercise that I do to relax my body. Then I imagine all unnecessary thoughts floating outside the wall of my mind, like they are there, but not in my main conscious. Or I imagine them floating outside my head.
What I do when my mind is clear and I'm practically meditating, I imagine the element, such as if I were working with earth I would go outside. I would imagine myself covered in earth, soil, dirt. Feeling the moisture and the essence of the earth, basking in it's power. I imagine how it would smell, earthy. I imagine how the earth holds us and takes care of us, providing us a place to live and everything we need. I subconsciously thank it and continue with what I'm doing. I feel my roots in the earth and feel the energy, sometimes I feel it pulsing up my spine and through my palms if I have them pressed against the ground. (which helps me a lot) I'll imagine something like a tree, a flower, a plant, starting as a seed within the soil, then I imagine it growing and growing, becoming firm and tall.
For fire I would sit down and get into meditation like before, but this time, I imagine fire in a wall around me like a circle, dancing flames. I imagine the sound of the flames cracking and the heat. I also imagine myself engulfed by fire, warming me but not hurting me, I imagine energy in my hands, igniting a fire of it's own and I usually feel them get hot or sweaty, pulsing with energy, and glowing with power. I always listen to music while doing fire because it just helps me get into it, I recommend The Fire Chant on Youtube.
For water, I of course meditate first and it would be best done outside. I usually have a bowl of water in front of me just to help me feel it. I hold my hands over the bowl of water and feel our energies bouncing back and forth like waves. I imagine a beach, tides crashing down on sand, being pulled by the moon only to be let go to crash down again. I imagine the sound, the smell. I imagine my skin moist, my hair wet and I feel the water inside my body. After all we are composed mostly of water. You could also imagine a stream, flowing, with frogs croaking and all the creatures in that area. Also you could think of rain, pounding down, cracks of thunder and flashes of lightening, wetting the soil, I imagine myself barefoot, feeling the cool water on the pads of my feet. As in for music to listen to while doing it I would recommend Aqueous Transmission by Incubus.
I really don't work with air all that much though I need to. When I do, I do meditation. I imagine wind flowing through my hair, all over me, caressing my hair over my shoulders again and again. I imagine the sound of the wind rustling the leaves of trees, tall grass. I imagine the power the wind has, it has the power to destroy, it has the power to spread the earth, seeds, and cool down hot air, making it more pleasant for us. I think of the vastness, and how far up air goes into the atmosphere. It's best to do outside.
Sorry for the long post but I thought I'd do all the main elements, because if you're a beginner and all, it's best to get all the information that you can. Remember that all these are just what works for me, and you may be different, but just try it and modify it as your own as you move along. That's what I did. :)