Okay, new method for getting actors this fall that is going really well for me:
1. Write a list of characters needed on the board (Chico 1, Chico 2, Chica 1, etc.)
2. First day - ask a confident, bossy student to choose all actors. Write their names in the list on the board as he/she picks them. This works best if the choosing student is popular; other kids want to be picked by that person. (Fair or unfair, just telling you how it is.)
3. After first day - whoever played the main character (Chico 1) in the last skit chooses all actors for the new skit.
4. Variation - whoever played the main character (Chico 1) chooses the main character for the new skit, then that (new) person chooses Chico 2. Chico 2 chooses Chica 1, and so on.
Getting actors for skits has suddenly gone from big Argument/Whine Time to pretty fun, actually. Mine really like getting to choose actors, and everyone else in the class seems to enjoy waiting to see who they are going to pick.
Going back to my previous post about getting actors and how students will get up to act as long as they are being "forced" to do it (NOT volunteering on their own)--being chosen by other students is probably the best "forcing" method I've found because they like the attention from each other. So far this year, I've only had one student beg not to act after being chosen by classmates, complaining he had already acted a lot (which was true) and that he didn't feel good that day. So, I let him choose someone to take his place, and that person acted willingly.
Another fun thing to do with the board list is add a few story details to it, like "Coche, Animal," etc. and ask for those up front as well. I owe that idea to my friend Jennifer Noonan who taught with me a couple of years ago here in Colorado, now moved on to Chicago. (Hi Jenn!)