By Dick Tibbetts - University of Macau, Macau
I've just been reading Letters (Burbidge, Gray, Levy, Rinvolucri) in the resouce Books for Teachers series and it seems to have some rather good ideas. Written in 1996, it tells how mario collected his letters unopened for a few days, brought them into class and gave them to students. He explained that he'd been to busy to open his mail and asked them to open his letters, read, summarise and suggest a course of action. It occasioned much surprise and interest.
There must be something similar you could do with emails, with the advantage that you can secretly vet the contents first and then mark them unread. You'd need to forward them enmass somehow - I wouldn't want to do it to individuals or to allow access to my account.
A second idea is to show one of those chain letters that promise wealth if you pass it on and misfortune if you don't. Then students write their own but give as content 3 phrasal verbs and meanings for the receiver to learn before passing on. you could do it with items other than phrasal verbs and you might need to check the explanations but this is a great idea for students to inform each other and can spread outside the class.
Some of the resource series are available in Chinese printed versions. If Letters is available it should be quite cheap. I like it.