Thursday, January 22, 2015

BUGS show great leadership!

This week presented an exciting opportunity for students of the  
Baltimore Urban Gardening with Students after-school program.

Baltimore City's Student Environmental Leadership Action Team (SELAT) meeting was hosted by Commodore John Rodgers, just a few blocks from the BUGS campus. Our students prepared themselves for the meeting by talking about what healthy changes they would like to see at their school. The conversation focused a lot on trash, but we also touched on worms, bees, gardens, trees and more.

Afterwards, BUGS students designed and created a coloring book about recycling which they will give away at the BUGS Expo on Feb. 25th.

In other news... If your school green team is still looking for plants for the spring:

BUGS will start your seeds from scratch – submit request by Mar 1

Students will be growing seed starts for schools. If you provide the seeds, there is no cost; if BUGS supplies the seeds, schools can ask for specific plants and then pay a small fee ($5 per 20 plants).  Seedlings will be ready for pick-up at the BUGS Farmers Market on Apr 25 (802 S. Caroline St. in Harbor East, 10am-2pm).  Alternate pick up times can also be scheduled.
Please email Jason Reed at

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Team Building with BUGS

Many of our students were taking great advantage of a meeting being held at their school for the Student Environmental Leadership Action Team with Mr. Jason. This meant that we were a few BUGS short of a regular day. With this, Mr. Tyone and I decided to combine our students to do some team-building and get to know our students on a more personal level. We tied in elements of both dance and STEM to make this a fun, educational, and productive time together.

 Here I am teaching the girls how to do a thigh stand. We talked about balance and weight to make our stunt safe. Pictured left to right: Ty'nasia, Lariyah, Ms. Valerie, Sharron, Tracey, Taylor, and Arly.
 Success! We completed the thigh stand stunt and the girls were very proud! We bonded over learning a new skill and learning about Ms. Valerie's cheerleading past.

To engage the girls and boys to work together more willingly and cooperatively, we challenged the students to make a human pyramid. We talked about elements of safety, how many people they had in total versus how many people would be on each level of the pyramid, weight distribution, and balance.

In the beginning, the girls and the boys did not want to work together or have anything to do with each other. Here, they are joined for a happy group photo for a job well done!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Very BUGS Christmas

With the tune of Mariah Carey "All I Want For Christmas Is You" playing in the background the BUGS students sat in anticipation to receive their gifts.

The BUGS Students earn "BUG Bucks" daily as part of our incentive program. A few times a year they get to cash in those bucks for items from the BUG Buck Catalogue.

But what really got us into the christmas spirit are the gift donations we received from the Allegis Staffing Service Group. Each student received a stocking stuffed with goodies and a personal card, handmade, by the staff. 

Seeing the smiles on our students faces is absolutely priceless. 
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Cooking up the holiday spirit

Holiday lights are going up all over the city and there's a chill in the air. It's definitely starting to feel like the holidays here at BUGS. Last week was Thanksgiving Break and Student Lead Conferences at Commodore, so there weren't many students for the 2 days of programming.
This week has been a busy one in the kitchen with the Ladybugs. Monday we practiced our chopping skills while whipping up a delicious fried rice. Then, Tuesday the girls got very fancy making their own pasta. Here are some pictures of them rolling the dough and shaping it into "farfalle" or bowties.

Note the looks on concentration on Danyell and Arly's faces. And that's Taylor cranking away on the pasta machine. Team work!

Aaliyah, Tracy and Ty'Shay are hard at work but were able to spare time for a smile. 

Pasta shaping. 
And the finished product, laid out for drying. The festive color, which comes from beets, makes them look like Christmas ribbons.

Then, to truly get into the holiday spirit Mr. Tyone organized at trip to the Meyerhoff to see the Nutcracker. But this was not your traditional rendition of the Nutcracker. It had Duke Ellington's music performed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and dance performances by Step Afrika.

Jaylen conducting the orchestra.

Doneisha pointing out the appearance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.
On the trip back to school the students were unable to pick a favorite part, but liked all the bits with the step but especially when they were able to participate. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014


For the past two weeks the spiders have been learning about a very aggressive and stylistic genre of dance known as "Krump". Krump is a very emotionally driven style of dance used in the streets of California to settle disputes, as well as to express emotions and faith. The boys were amped and ready to dive into the world of krump learning a brief history of the style, as well as a few movements to combine into a short combination. Here is the final product of one of the routines they've learned thus far!

video video
The spiders are always ready and willing to jump into a dance cypher, always eager to show off their moves to everyone. Sometimes these cyphers even turn into one on one battles and thats just what happened in the second video above. Watch as Jamal and Edward battle it out to be known as "Krump King" in THE BATTLE GROUND!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Erupting with excitement!

Khalil, Amir, Keon, Tavon, and Marquis building the base of their volcano.

This week, the Spiders were fully engaged in STEM while learning about volcanoes. We had a pretest to assess our knowledge on what we had already known about volcanoes. The scores of the pretest were not very good on the first go around... The students had an opportunity to read an article about volcanoes as a class and make corrections to their quiz. Afterwards, we watched videos of real volcanoes erupting. We also identified what was happening in the videos using vocabulary from the article. The next day, the students were given directions and materials to build a group volcano. With minimal support, the students successfully built two volcanoes using a dough mixture, with food-colored vinegar and baking soda "lava." The Spiders were fully emerged in the activity and put their expert volcano knowledge to the test! This is an activity they will always remember!

Erupting with success!

Jaylan, Malachi, Jamal, and Timothy working well as a team  to build the base of their volcano.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bringing some BUGS flavor to Whole Foods

 When BUGS students found out that the Whole Foods in Harbor East was donating 5% of their sales on September 30th to the program, they wanted to make sure that Whole Foods' customers knew what the BUGS program is all about. So, we packed up our homemade granola, crafts, garden seedlings and homegrown tea, and set up right by the checkout line!
Besides having the opportunity to share their BUGS experience with customers, our students also got to sample a squash salad and some carrots with Ginger hummus. Everyone was impressed by our students, and one customer even offered to buy us a snack. By the end of the day, the BUGS had won over customer and employee alike, and had eloquently shared in their own words the impact that the BUGS program can have on lives of students in Baltimore.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summer 2014 in STEM

BUGS Summer Camp 2014 in STEM was a lot of fun!  The students learned about soil and it's components -- 1) rocks, 2) air, 3) water, and 4) humus.  They learned about soil texture and how it is dependent on the mixture of sand, silt, and clay.

Students also spent a considerable amount of time dissecting flowers to understand the different parts and what they do.  The boys went on a "Flower Scavenger Hunt" to find as many different kinds of flowers as they could on campus.  Check out the picks below!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

BUGS Girls Visit Proctor & Gamble

The BUGS Summer of 2014 has been awesome!  And one of the awesome-est things we have done this summer is visit the Proctor & Gamble Cosmetics facility in Hunt Valley, MD.

As a result of a connection made at a STEM symposium, I was able to arrange a visit for the BUGS girls to see all the different STEM activities that go into making cosmetics at Proctor & Gamble.  Thanks to hard work by Stacey Mannes at P&G, we received presentations on what makes a good moisturizer, understanding what consumers want, and how to find out what kind of foreign objects might get into lipstick base and a demonstration of a 3-D printer.  It was all very cool!

All of the presentations were great but I think the 3-D printer demonstration was the biggest hit.

Also, the folks at P&G were not only generous with their time but they also gave us goodie bags and Taylor Swift t-shirts and provided lunch!  They also praised our students as well-behaved, curious, and engaged!  Yay!!!  BUGS!!!

Top Photo: The Proctor & Gamble Cosmetics entrance sign.
Bottom Photo: Ms. Kadija and Ms. Neta with the BUGS girls showing off our goodie bags and
t-shirts on the Proctor & Gamble steps.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The BUGS are on the news!

The BUGS were recently featured on ABC2 News. Check our amazing students out right here.