things went pretty well tonight. better by far than last time. i took some advice from a few wise friends (you know who you are) about making the classroom feel creative. we did away with tables and chairs, and had a circle of pillows and blankets on the floor, lit some candles (purchased hastily from the souq), and made a pot of coffee. immediately the all-girl dynamic stopped feeling like a liability. there was great conversation, ideas flowed freely, and i'm now a believer in the power of a rearranged room. thanks all for your good input.