Monday, March 19, 2018

Cultivating Scientists & Entrepreneurs at BUGS

Spring is almost here!

And here at the BUGS program, things have certainly been springing forward! In preparation for our much anticipated Farmers Market on April 28th, students have been working diligently on their cooking component products and fine tuning their customer service skills!

students making golden milk and an omelete

students L to R: James, Jerrod, and Eylo smiling while preparing okra

Be sure to come and visit us at our upcoming Farmers Market to get some wonderful products while supporting the budding youth entrepreneurs in our program!

2nd + 3rd Grade Boys: The Grasshoppers group!

It is always a pleasure when outside organizations come to share their knowledge with our BUGS students. This past week, visitors came all the way from Buckanoe College in Pennsylvania to facilitate a multi station STEM workshop for our 2nd - 5th grade girls.

students Mia and Kearra learn about conductors

One of the things they loved the most, was they got to make their all time favorite thing: SLIME!

perfectly happy and slimy!

We ended our workshops with a grand finale:  Shooting off a rocket into the sky that the students helped make - it was quite the thrill (check it out)!:

Everyday is a new experience for our students at BUGS.

Check back here for more adventures at the BUGS after school program!

Our students cant wait to unveil their products to you all at our Farmers Market on April 28th at The Living Classrooms Foundation Campus.

BUGS Cooking Educator

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Camp Puh'tok and the BUGS Expo 2018

We recently had our BUGS expo at the John Rodgers Commodore Elementary and Middle school.  Each BUGS instructor had activities for students and adults.  In addition, each educator displayed what they have been doing with the students throughout the last couple of months.  Some students ended the expo with a fantastic tap dancing performance lead by director Algernon Campbell. 
See the pictures below:

                                                From Ms. Nicola Norman's Cooking Class:

Students and parents could make their own seasoned pop corn.  The empty bottles on the right are displays that were intended to help demonstrate how much sugar is in processed drinks, and how it negatively affects us.  

Pictures of what students have made in Ms. Nicola's cooking class:

From Ms. Dee's Creative Movement/ Art class:

                                                     Flower Vase made with a glass bottle

 **If you want to see the video of the dance performance, please ask management.  The file is too big to share in this blog!!! **

BUGS students visited camp Puh'tok in Monkton, MD again.  At camp they learned about the different parts of a tree, about wildlife, the importance of team building, and about catapults.  They sharpened their motor and sensory skills by making a catapult out of popsicle sticks and rubber bands.  Thereafter, the kids competed with one another to see who's catapult worked the best!  See the pictures below: 

                                            This is Jerrod Moss and his Catapult.  He won 3rd place!

Janel Cotton and her Catapult: 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Finishing 2017 with Exploration and starting 2018 with a Bang!!

To end the year with fascination, exploration, and hands on learning experiences, we took our BUGS students to Camp Puh'tok in Monkon, MD.  Camp Puh-tok is on 60 acres of woodlands bordered by Gunpowder Falls River and State Park.  Students learned about Native American History by engaging in activities the way the Natives used to, such as painting with natural resources, writing Native American stories, and starting a camp fire.  Students also rode horses and completed a physical obstacle course to help sharpen their sensory motor skills.

                                                          Camp Puh'tok Obstacle Course 

Camp Puh'tok farm area

Camp Puh'tok bow and arrow center

Madison raking leaves with an old fashioned rake

Students playing a Native American counting game with beans and rocks

Glori reciting her Native American Story that she wrote using the Native language

Instructor showing students how to start a fire

To end 2017, I helped design the Art/Creative Movement Classroom.  A team of 18+ people helped me paint and re-design the classroom so that it better serves our students.  I plan on placing mirrors on the walls to improve dance skills.  I have recently set up 3 different stations; dance, homework, and art work.  

Students were involved in the redesigning process.  Below are pictures of students referbishing old classroom chairs.  

The BUGS Thanksgiving dinner

Students learned about the importance of reusing, reducing, and recycling.  Below is a picture of students repurposing computer monitor holders which are made from plastic.  

Students collected leaves and created art work with them with paint.  This helped students learn about the different types of trees that are on the campus.  

Students are learning how to practice being precise.  They were instructed to bead while using specific measurements.    

Students are constantly engaged in activities that strengthen social skills and critical thinking skills.  

We celebrated christmas with stuffed animals and homemade festive snacks!  

All of the students are really excited about the many projects and trips that we have planned!!  2018 is already a beautiful year full of growth, warmth, change, and positivity!  Please stay tuned for more!!!  

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

BUGS Cooking Students Learn about Traditional Foods

Connecting Food, Culture, & History in the BUGS Kitchen

One of the important things that we do at BUGS is try to give students beyond the surface hands on experiences that help them see the bigger picture. In the BUGS kitchen, we get to try new recipes as well as healthy new takes on some of our favorite foods - we are also a 100% vegetarian kitchen!

 Recently, students made the African dish, Akara. Akara is a black eyed pea fritter cake that is traditionally deep fried in Palm Oil (We used Vegetable Oil as a substitute). This bean cake has strong links to West Africa in countries such as Togo, Benin, Nigeria, and Mali where it is a popular street and breakfast food. The food is also eaten in Brazil where it's called Acaraje and is used as an ancestral food offering in Candomble, an African Faith founded in Brazil by captive Africans around the 16th century.  The black eyed pea patty has in recent years sparked a deeper interest in Afro Brazilians about their cultural and historical connections to West Africa.

The recipe uses peeled black eyes peas, blended with onions, spices (we used sea salt, pepper, some old bay and added a few cloves of garlic) which is then mixed up in a bowl for about 5 minutes, then deep fried, resulting in a light bean cake with a fluffy interior:

Akara (Source: Google)

Students enjoying Akara in BUGS kitchen

Our Lesson: How Do different Cultures Honor those that have passed on?

In our journey to explore the flavors of Akara, I asked this question to my students. Some of the answers ranged from mention of the celebration of The Day of the Dead in Mexico, lighting candles, gifting flowers and making a "toast". Participation was very high, as many students had stories to share :

Students Sasha & Ryan smile for the camera

Excitement as the Akara is Cooking pictured: Reign Morrison

Before we dug in to our tasty bean cakes, we did a toast to our ancestors and to each other  - the Akara was a huge hit with the students!

Arts Integration with "culinary arts"

Students engaged in a creative process to achieve edible and inedible artwork out of pumpkin ginger cookies we had previously made in our kitchen classroom. Our food & nutrition lessons are often planned around sensory activities that engage students in various modes and textures as a way to create products, as a meditative process, and as a tool for health & nutrition education.

Take a Look at Some of the Fun:

Khamal poses with his old man cookie art :)

Students James and Brian enjoying their canvasses

Student Artwork

Dough Sensory Activity 
We have just welcomed 2 new educator to our BUGS team, and we have an exciting year planned for our students! Check back for more updates on what we're up to, our motto is "Learning by Doing" and we look forward to continuing to do just that :).

BUGS Cooking Educator
January 2018

Monday, August 28, 2017

Intentional Community Dinner with BUGS & Moving Forward....


This past Friday the BUGS Cooking & Nutrition Educator, Nicola Norman organized an intentional community dinner for the students, families, and staff at the Frederick Douglass/Isaac Myers Museum to celebrate our achievements and eat delicious food!

With generous donations and support from local food businesses such as fish and vegetable wraps from Terra Cafe, a delicious curried rice salad from Neopol Smokery in Belvedere Square, pork and chicken sliders from Waterfront Kitchen, and dessert was prepared by the hard working BUGS students who made chocolate cake with strawberries and icing! We had a special guest DJ Mr. 14th, and a slideshow with some of our favorite BUGS memories in pictures.


Here are some photos of the BUGS students preparing dessert for the dinner:

The staff that was able to make it, were not shy about filling their plates either!

Our BUGS volunteer students also made their own decorations for the event:
Due to changes in federal budget allocations, the BUGS program is going through a transition and transformation. This means that BUGS wont be starting again when the school year starts, but there are people working hard behind the scenes to ensure that BUGS is able to reemerge in the near future. This summer has truly been a memorable experience as cooking teacher at BUGS, and the power of after school programs is something that could never be under or overestimated. Here's to BUGS!