My normally quiet, shy, reserved students decided to stay home these past couple of days and in their place I've gotten wild, yelling, hilarious actors. This week they did role plays of TV shows, and I wish I had known earlier that this was how to get them excited about English. There was yelling, cheering, costumes, props, dances, impersonations, singing and one group even painted their faces white to act as American movie stars (most Thais aren't that dark-skinned, but still covet light skin - for example it's difficult to find sunscreen or body lotion without "whitening" properties). They must have used Microsoft Word or some other auto-correcting word processor because we had nameplates for Angelina Jolly and Ben Affect.
It was great fun to see them perform; in one presentation, three students dressed in matching track suits and headbands and got the whole class got involved doing an aerobics show. One group did a cooking show, complete with a table full of real food that we got to sample (mmm, corn-apple-yogurt-honey-lettuce sandwiches...).
To understand how amazing this is, keep in mind that 99% of the time, it's impossible to get them speak above a whisper or anything besides what is written in their textbook.
I was also heartened that one group did a show called "World Warm Warning" where they pretended to be scientists telling you how to reduce your contributions to global warming (on the whole, Thailand seems very conscious of environmental problems, specifically global warming; there are t-shirts, posters, bulletin board displays, etc. - whether this translates to action is hard to tell, but at least there's awareness).