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The "How are you?" Lesson

Target English: How are you? + replies (emotions)
Grade Level: Kindergarten to Junior High school 1

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"How are you?"
by Richard Graham

Hello, how are you?
Hello, how are you?
Hello, how are you?
Hello, how are you?

I'm hungry,
I'm tired,
I'm cold,
I'm sad

(Repeat Chorus)

I'm happy
I'm great
I'm good
I'm OK

(Repeat Chorus)

This song has become famous around the world, but the description below is the one I originally put on the website the day after I first wrote the song.

I was thinking the other day that there must be a way for my kids to practice at home what they learn in class. Then it hit me - songs!! Get a melody going round and round in their heads and they'll never forget it!

The problem is that most English songs have too difficult and often not very useful lyrics. So I decided to write a song for each of my English games, using only the language used in class! This is the first "How are you?"! It's a perfect accompaniment to the "Gokiburi Game" and works amazingly well! I was stunned to see how well the kids reacted to it! Try it and see!

1. Teach the phrase "How are you?" and the various replies. It's very important to have actions with the song. It becomes easier to remember, and physical movement improves the memorisation of the words! The replies and movements are

"I'm hungry" (they pat their tummies)

"I'm tired", (they go to sleep!)

"I'm cold", (they shiver)

"I'm sad" (they pull a sad face)

"I'm happy" (a big, smily face!)

"I'm great", (they throw their arms in the air!)

"I'm good" (thumbs up!)

"I'm OK!" (either the western or Japanese OK sign!)

When you teach the song, it's always good to keep the actual recording till near the end, this way they don't get bored. Maybe first off sing the song line by line, then get them to sing (and do the actions). Then you can start the recorded version. Maybe do this two times. You can get more out of it by then making them pair up with the person next to them. The people facing the corridor sing the first line "Hello, how are you?" and the people facing the opposite way sing the next "hello, how are you?" and so on. This works really well. You can even do this as a competition, getting them to be louder than the other team!

In the verses I sing "I'm hungry" etc. and then there is an "echo" of it. At first, just get the kids to sing the echo part. But when they get good, you can split the class. Have one side sing the main vocal and the other the "echo" they can then join up for the chorus!

In future lessons you can play the song once and the kids should remember it! It's a really quick review! When you have done several songs (for several different English topics) then try playing one at the beginning of each lesson as an alternative to the Warm Up Game!

These kids started lessons just a few weeks ago!

Classroom Game

Once you've done the song (and it's firmly stuck in your head!) it's time to practice the English with a game.
My favourite game to use with this song is the "How are you? Monster Game"

This is a variation of the traditional "What time is it, Mr Wolf?" game. This time it's used for practising "How are you?" and introducing adjectives. It's also one of my favourite games at the moment! So have a run through the song, then once the kids have got a grasp of the words, let's try the game....

1. The kids all line up at one end side of the gym.

2. Explain that this side of the gym is the "safe" side. But the kids really want to get across to the other side, where there is a sweet shop which today has a half price special offer ( this gets the kids very excited!).

3. But, in between the kids and the sweet shop is a monster! At first the teacher is the monster. Ask the kids to guess what your favourite food is. They'll shout out some foods ( nice practice!), then you say that your favourite food is human! ( Even bigger reaction from the kids!)

4. Tell them that they can only cross to the sweet shop if the monster is in a good mood and isn't hungry. Ask them how they can check on the mood of the monster. After a moment a few kids will say "Ask him/her "How are you?""

5. All together the kids ask the monster "How are you?"

6. Do a few "I'm sorry?"s to get the kids to shout in big loud voices ( so that all the kids join in, not just the super genki ones!)

7. The monster says an answer, e.g. "I'm OK".

8. The kids repeat the answer ( important practice!) and move forward one step ( no jumping allowed!).

9. Repeat from 5.

10. But if the answer is "I'm hungry!!", the kids have to run back to their safe wall! Any kid who is tagged on the way back becomes a monster for the next round!

11. Play again!

This game works a treat and is one of those magic games that the kids play long after the lesson has finished.

The adjective parts come in from the second round. This time you ask the kids if they want a big monster ( mime a big monster) or a small monster ( mime a small monster). The kids have to shout out which they would like. As you are introducing the vocab in context it's a very effective way of teaching. For the second round ask if they'd like a fast monster ( again mime being fast) or a slow monster ( do a "slow motion" mime), and finally for the final round ask them if they'd like a cute monster or a scary monster!! This is a great lead into the adjectives theme for a future lesson.

In the second round there is more than one monster, so I usually get the kids to answer in turn ( just make sure they don't let anyone reach the sweet shop!).

I've also tried this game with parents and they also love it, but this time instead of racing to get the half price sweet shop I tell them they are trying to get to a free bar!!

or you could try the "Gokiburi Game" or How are you? 2 Game to add in more vocab.

For a future follow up lesson, have a look at "Excuse me, are you..."

Picture Book

How are you?

Gumby has made this great video of how to make an 8 page book out of one piece of paper!

And being such a nice person she's also done a ready made print out for you to try!


Thanks Gumby! What do you think? ?Would you like to see this for more themes?

Online Game

How are you?

Evaluation Worksheet (What's this?)

Click here for the Teachers' Notes.

The worksheets with the 9 pictures of Aygo or Mr Monkey are great activities. The teacher shouts out a number and then one of the lyrics from the song (the lyrics are printed inside the CD booklet). For example, "Aygo number 3 is Happy!". The kids would then make Aygo number 3 into a happy Aygo by drawing a happy face on him! This activity practises the expressions used in "How are you?", as well as numbers and is a good way for the kids to develop their imagination and drawing skills!

The song is available here to download for free in MP3 format (if you don't know what that means, then ask a computer teacher, I'm sure they'll help you!). But please remember that the song is Copyright. You can use the songs in your class or for your own use, but please don't make multiple copies!

Get it for free!

Or sign up for the Daily Blog and get the "How are you?" MP3 and worksheets for free!:

Or buy it in the Teacher's Set or Download Pack.

If you can't use MP3s, then why not buy the Teacher's Set? You'll find the full quality stereo version of the "How are you?" song along with the karaoke version, and a special CDROM section where kids can hear the words spoken as many times as they like as well as games and animations!

Anyway, Enjoy!! (and good luck in trying to get the song out of your head after you've heard it a few times!!

"I'm OK!".

Readers' Comments

by Kinoko

We used this song in a private English school in Japan as the "hello song" every morning with kids of all ages. We had two year olds singing along and learning the actions was pretty neat to watch and use.

Readers' Comments

by Deirdre Dooey

I found this song really excellent! The children, who were completely new to English (I live in Austria) learned the vocabulary instantly.

Readers' Comments

by Stephanie

 First of all, my little ones (grades 1-3) love the song.  Sometimes if I catch them in the halls and ask them "How are you?" they automatically break into song.

As for one activity, I made a worksheet with a picture for each of the emotions in the song, similar to the country worksheet you suggest for "Where are you from?" activities.  I hand out cards to each kid and that becomes their answer to the question "How are you?"  Then they go around and ask each other "Hello, how are you?" Whatever the other person answers, they get to cross it off of their list.  Once they have crossed every emotion off of their list, they can sit down.  However, kids can still interview the kids sitting down in order to finish their sheet.  It's a bit of a controlled activity, but it gets them practicing the question and answer pattern, as some kids mistakenly believe that the appropriate response to "Hello, how are you?" is "Hello, how are you?"

Reader's Comments

Hello , I am Zebo an English teacher from Tajikistan, I used this song and actions and my 5th grade students love it very much.Thank you very much. I like this site very much and take a lot new ideas and things from this site.If only we could download all the songs there only a few to download. I also love to use songs in my classroom.

( Thanks for the feedback Zebo, you can now download all the songs in the download pack! - Richard)

Reader's Comments

I looked all around and couldn't find any flashcards suitable for babies. they shouldn't be frightened by flashcards... yours are cute. thank you


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