I use this activity at the beginning of the year to set the ‘tone’ of my classroom. We talk about how the tone of your voice can change the meaning of your words. Students, in pairs, read phrases in different tones and try to guess the tone. I have chosen anger, frustration, snarky, sad, and happy as the tones. I specifically chose snarky, which I think of as mean sarcasm, for my budding middle schoolers.
This activity allows us to create a common understanding of how tone can impact how you feel both to take to heart how we speak, and to empathize with others.
I also use this again when we talk about tone and mood in literature.