Mr Men Drilling
This activity is based on the popular Mr Men and Little Miss series by Roger Hargreaves. Although these books are of course for children, the activity works just as well with adults, providing a great way to practise controlling aspects of their speech including the rate of speech, volume, pitch and attitudinal intonation.
PRE: Before the lesson, collect images of the covers of a number of Mr Men or Little Miss books. Print out at least one per student. You should be selective about which books to use – those that use an emotion (e.g. Mr Happy) are definitely fine.
1: Find an activity in the book that has a list of independent questions (i.e. they may be asked separately; they don’t build on the previous question). Assign each student a question and give them a card.
2: Demo that students should stand up, move around the class and ask their question to other students. Model that students should ask and answer the questions according to their given character. After they have asked and answered, students should exchange Mr Men/Little Miss cards. Model this with a strong student. Note that students should change their intonation, speed, volume and content to match the character.
S1 (Mr Rush – speaks quickly): What’s the last book you read?
S2 (Little Miss Chatterbox – gives a lot of detail): Oh, it was Harry Potter. It’s about a wizard and his friends, and well he doesn’t know he’s a wizard, but then there’s an owl and…
1: You could do the same activity with other characters that have distinguishable personalities such as those in the movie Inside Out. However, students would need to be familiar with the characters.
2: Instead of using a list of questions already in the course book you could write your own to focus on a particular construction or lexical items.
If this isn’t the first time students have done this activity, you could have them note the answers they receive. Then, after the activity students present their findings in the character of the last Mr Men/Little Miss card they had.
Where are you from?
What’s your job?
When did you come to …?
What’s your favourite football team/colour/food/book/movie/etc?
How many brothers/sisters/siblings/cousins have you got?
How much money is in your pocket?
What’s the last book you read?
What would you do if you found a wallet in the street?