In unrelated (I think) news: I actually heard from the NASA Explorer Schools program today (3 March) regarding the Boston NSTA conference. It looks like the trip is still on... if the NES authorized travel agency can figure out a return flight itinerary that works. Being Spring Break and all, flights are kind of full!
In further unrelated news: I had my 4th-grade math class of mostly boys (only one girl) create a Hina Matsuri display for the classroom door today. As is typical for me, I dreamed up this elaborate lesson plan while walking from the parking lot to the classroom this morning. The students responded quite enthusiastically, creating pictures of kimono-clad Japanese figures (with a decidedly South Park-ish appearance) out of shapes cut from colored construction paper. One of the Educational Assistants excitedly offered to help, and provided us with an abundance of die-cut paper flowers to add to the "girlish" charm of the display. Continuing into our Language Arts block, I had the students write "reflections" about the project, then we recorded their reflections in spoken form on PowerPoint slides. Now they're working on typing up what they've written to add as text to the slides. The students really seemed to get involved in this assignment. The best lessons frequently are those in which I invest the least amount of preparation. I dunno what this says about me as a teacher... other than that I should type up this Girls' Day lesson and post it on one of those cutesy elementary school teacher web sites, seeing as how it's so sugoi.
(And yes, I designed the kimono figures myself, and created cardstock templates for the heads, bodies, and hair, in the course of about ten minutes. Perhaps that Pinky:st