How are you / emotion cards


Playing cards featuring the emotions “happy, sad, angry, nervous, sleepy, tired, hungry, and busy.” Use these to play “Go Fish” or the “Jyan Ken Card Game”

Materials Needed

  • Emotion cards



This is a set of multipurpose cards featuring the emotions “happy, sad, angry, nervous, sleepy, tired, hungry, and busy.” They are best used for teaching emotions and “how are you?” to 1st grade junior high school, or elementary school. Some games you can use with these cards are the Jyan Ken Card Game (, Go Fish (, or even Karuta ( Below is an example of how you might use the cards. The introduction and activity should take about 15-20 minutes with JHS 1st graders. Elementary school will more likely take a bit longer.

Example Introduction:

If the students start the class with “How are you,” remind them of it, and ask them what it means. Hopefully one bright student will know, and volunteer the answer. If not, explain that it basically means “genki?” or “gokigen wa doh des ka?” and that “I'm fine” means “genki des.”

If you know a bit of Japanese, ask the students if the know what “happy” (ureshii/shiawase) is in English. Have the students repeat “happy” two or three times, draw a happy face on the black board, and write “happy” beneath it. If you don't know any Japanese, you can simply pantomime and draw the emotions instead. This goes over especially well with smaller children. Repeat this for all 6 emotions on the cards “sleepy, hungry, happy, tired, sad, angry, nervous, and busy.”

Once you've finished that, drill the kids a few times on the words by pointing at the drawings (not in order) on the board and asking them what each emotion is. You can turn this drilling into dialog practice by asking “How are you,” and having the students reply “I'm happy (sad/tired/etc).” Do this until the students seem to have the vocabulary and dialog down. After this, you should be ready to play a game with the students.

Jyan Ken Card Game:

Give each student 3 cards (or more). Have them stand up, walk around the room, and play rock-paper-scissors with each other. The loser must ask “how are you,” and the winner replies “I'm [emotion].” If the loser has the card with the emotion indicated by the winner, he has to give it to the winner (and could say “me too” if you desire). If the loser doesn't have the card, he doesn't have to do anything, and you can tie it up with some ending phrase of your choice. Make sure to have extra cards; some students will run out of cards, and you will want a few extras to give them so they can keep playing. Depending on how you want to play, the student with the most cards, or the most pairs, by the end of the game wins.


Go Fish:

Instead of “how are you” you could have students play “Go Fish” using the dialog:

Q: Are you happy?

A: Yes I am / No, I'm not.


Have the students call out “How are you,” and answer them by saying “I'm happy/sad/etc.” When you answer, the students should slap the corresponding card.


Print the cards on thick paper, and/or print a design on the back of the cards so that other students can't cheat by seeing the pictures through the backs of the cards.

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