Friday, December 11, 2009

Preparing Our Garden For Winter

On Tuesday, we brought in the final harvest from our garden and needed to turn our soil over to plant our cover crop. First we had to get all of our materials. Then we had to harvest plants and pick weeds from around plants. We also had to take the beds apart. Also we had to turn it over with a rake or a hoe.Mr.jason also told us what jobs we had to do. For example we had to take the materials back. We also had to put gloves on for protection in case a piece of wood get stuck in one of our hands.I liked it a lot because we got to work together.

Written By:Miyah Montgomery

Thursday, December 10, 2009

BUGS Visit Red Tree in Hampden, and Enjoy 34th Street

Visiting Mrs.Carmen

 On the visit to Mrs. Carmen's  store '' Red Tree'' we talked and looked around in her store. There were lots of expensive and beautiful things. There were edible things,and more. When we went there Mrs .Carmen had talked and asked questions about the store. We also asked and answered her questions. We also sold our tree ornaments that we had left over from the tree sale that we had. Then Mrs.Carmen had gave Mr. Jason money to get us hot chocolate,it was ten of us. The place that we received our hot chocolate was at ''New System Bakery''. There was a nice and kind woman named Ms. Debbie,that showed us where the hot chocolate was.  After that Mr. Jason had took us to this very beautiful street that had  just lots and lots of beautiful lights. On that block there was this first house that we first had to look at the house and then we had to sign in on this paper, but we never knew what it was  for. Then we saw this nice, sweet and beautiful dog that was very friendly to people or other dogs maybe cats too. This visit was very FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By: Taleyah 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Farm to Fork to Poop

For the next month the Younger Bows and Girls Groups will be learning all about the Digestive System. The Digestive System is the system of organs that convert food into energy. It is extremely important for human beings to have a healthy and active Digestive System.
Today, we made a Frittata using produce and eggs from Great Kids Farm in Baltimore. The bok choy, sunchokes, and eggs were grown and cared for by students from Baltimore City Public Schools. BUGS students volunteer at Great Kids Farm ( every two weeks when they are in Mr. Jason's class. A Frittata is an Italian omelet. What makes a Frittata different than the omelets that we are all familiar with is that they are not folded, instead they are finished in an oven.

We watched, "The Magic School Bus, For Lunch." In this episode the class goes inside Arnold's Digestive System. The enter in the mouth, travel through the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, and then come up and out again through his mouth.

We put the Frittata into the oven at 425 degrees and waited, and waited, and waited. The Frittata was not done when we had to leave, so we ate it the next day for snack. It was worth the wait!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Attention Sir! KIYAH!!!

It started!! BUGS Karate Masters!!!!

BUGS students were given a chance to receive a karate lesson at Joe Palanzo's Kenpo Karate ( from Mr. Chris. Mr. Russell, the manager, allowed the BUGS Students to come in and learn the training horse, left fighting stance, and certain karate blocks.

The students were given white blocks which symbolized their early training in the karate form. Karate is an art form that is very disciplined, requires a great deal of focus, and strength.

With Mr. Chris, as their instructor, they were able to learn the upward, outward, inward, downward, and side elbow blocks. He started with them learning each arm separately, then progressed to the opposite arm. After learning on both sides, they used both arms. Mr. Chris came with an arm pad. As he charged with the arm pad, the students were able to block each one of the charges. Some were very successful while others did offer up many laughs as Mr. Chris carefully tapped the student when they missed the block. That garnered so many laughs from the other students.

He did such a wonderful job wit the students. Hopefully, this will not be the last time Mr. Chris gets to teach the BUGS Students.

For each group that came, Mr. Chris tailored each class to the group. He kept some things pretty consistent and was able to make each group's experience different and worthwhile. The older boys were able to run towards the punching dummies and
hit it with the heel of their hands. The older girls were able to break the
different colored boards from easy to difficult.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Great Kids Farm

BUGS has developed a wonderful relationship with Great Kids Farm, the farm owned by the Baltimore City Public School System.  Located in Catonsville, the 33-acre farm is leading the way in exposing Baltimore students to nutritional and agricultural education.  Starting last spring, over this summer and continuing this fall, BUGS students have witnessed the farm's growth. They saw rows and rows of produce where months before there was nothing but grass. They were among the first to meet the goats and chickens. And they have lent a hand with several tasks around the farm from seeding and harvesting microgreens in the greenhouse to pulling up dead plants to feeding the goats. As part of Mr. Jason's service learning component, each group of students has and will continue to visit the farm. During these visits, they work and take the lessons they've learned to do their part to fill the need they see in their community of spreading nutritional education. In addition, Mr. Drew has begun to receive a share of produce every other week from the farm to use in his kitchen. This is a part of his aim to use all local ingredients in his cooking lessons. We hope to maintain this exciting partnership with Great Kids Farm!

Friday, November 6, 2009

New raised bed in greenhouse!

Last month, the older boys constructed a raised bed inside the BUGS greenhouse. They built the walls with cinderblocks and filled it in with compost and soil. This addition to our greenhouse will allow us to grow vegetables all throughout the winter!

Monday, November 2, 2009

A Ballroom Dancing Experience

It was Wednesday, Oct. 14th, and it was going to be an early and long day. It began with me arriving at the BUGS Campus at 8 am. I had some last minute details to finish up before venturing to Johnston Square Elementary School to pick up the 11 students who were going to be performing at the Hippodrome Pavilion Hall for the yearly Lights On Luncheon being held by the Maryland State Department of Education. I had picked up one student earlier on my way to campus. He is a Paul Laurence Dunbar student.

I arrived on campus, printed out some last minute paperwork, got the keys to the van I would be using, and gathered a breakfast snack for the kids to have when we arrived at the Hippodrome. I was picking them up at 9 am and left a 30 minute window for students who wanted to change before leaving the school, bathroom breaks, and pictures from any of the teachers. Good thing, I did!! They needed it and so did I. Bustling around, it gave me a few minutes to gather my frenetic energy and slow it down. Admittedly, I was excited for them and had to contain it.

We had done so much work preparing for this day. Towards the end of our BUGS Summer Session, we were visited by representatives of MSDE. They wanted to see what progress we were making with our students and how our program day was operating. In July, we were awarded the William H. White Award for Outstanding After-School Program from 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
After viewing my class hard at work on the music for the puppet show we would be presenting, Heather Rebstad, our program director, informed me that our program was asked to do a short performance at the Lights On Luncheon at the Hippodrome in October. Needless to say, I was very excited. What a great opportunity for our program and our students. Since the ballroom dancing component was so successful, it was a no brainer. Our students would do a ballroom dancing routine.

Then I had to get down to determining which students to choose. I needed students whom I knew would pick up the choreography very well, execute it equally as well, be committed, be disciplined, represent our program well when they were not dancing and have parents who would understand, support and encourage this incredible opportunity. Young people want to be involved in so many projects and yet, we need to have the full support of the parents as well. It gives it another level of focus and importance. It teaches the student follow-through, commitment, discipline and perseverance. All of which they need in order to have continued success in any arena.

After I gathered them, we headed to the Hippodrome. Once we arrived, they ate their breakfast snack and drank their juice. After some other dressing situations, we practiced a bow. Each student would have an opportunity at the end of the ballroom dance presentation to be individually introduced. We then headed into a huge and beautifully set-up pavilion to have a brief rehearsal in the space so they would be comfortable with where they would be performing and know what directions to face and such.

Just as the program began, the remaining BUGS Staff arrived with the parents of the performing students. All of the students were well-dressed and well-mannered. Everyone complimented them on their appearance, their behavior, and looked forward to seeing them perform the luncheon. Everyone had an appetizing lunch and even had a key-chain measuring tape and a box of small candies to take with them once the luncheon was over.

After the students finished eating their lunch, I gathered them up and took them in the foyer to get ready and calm down before the actual performance. The attendees listened to Jose Rico who is in the Education Department at the White House. As the talk went on, they began to get a little restless. Their nerves were getting the best of them. "Just be a little more patient! We'll be dancing in a few moments." I said to them. "I'm ready to dance!" "I'm nervous!" "What if I make a mistake?" These were just a few of the comments made as they waited. The time was getting closer. The speaker was done.

They were lined up, partnered, and ready to go. After their introduction from me, they entered the pavilion calmly and elegantly. The music began and they danced. They performed the Tango first. They were together. Clean. Smiling. Enthusiastic. The Tango ended and they immediately went into their positions for the Swing. This would be a crowd pleaser. As the music played, they bounced their shoulders, smiled at each other and the audience, brightened their faces and just gave a great performance. Once the song ended, they bowed and the attendees gave them a STANDING OVATION! Thunderous applause!!

They were introduced and then exited, partnered, from the pavilion. I gathered them outside in the foyer and before I could say anything, I CRIED!! I was so full of pride, joy and happiness for them. I got myself together. I told them, "I am so proud of each one of you! You all did such a wonderful job! I cannot thank you enough for your hard work, your commitment, your dedication, and your behavior. I want so much for you! And more importantly, I love each one of you!"

We gathered our things and headed back to Johnston Square. The day wasn't over. BUGS would still be happening in the afternoon and they needed to be ready for that.

One thing I did miss, Nancy Grasmick, the Maryland State Superintendent, complimented the BUGS Students and said so many glowing things about them.

What a great day! Congratulations to the BUGS Students for a spectacular performance!! You can accomplish so much!

The students who participated in this ballroom dancing presentation are...

Willis Brandon, Jr., partnered with Bria Sample
Kenard Dansbury, Jr., partnered with Angel Ramsey
Jeremiah Gaskins partnered with Ronoah Johnson
Jerrell Mack partnered with De'Asia Edwards
Jerwon Mack partnered with Kerron Webb
Harry Santos, III, partnered with Andrea Carmichael

I cannot thank them enough! Way to go, BUGS!!! Enjoy the ballroom dancing presentation video below.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Fellow Morehouse Man Comes to Teach Capoeira

As the Dance and Creative Movement Teacher, I have an opportunity to bring in guest teachers who are experts in their field and live locally to present to the BUGS Students what they know and teach it to them. I have had an African dance teacher, drum instructor, and tap instructors. This time around the students are learning about Capoeira. I had a great opportunity to bring another Morehouse Man and guest teacher, Jason Harris, to teach this art form that originates from Brazil.

Jason is holding a Berimbau (musical bow) which by changing the tension of the string effects the tone and sound that the berimbau makes. Along with the berimbau, he used an Agogo (double bell). It was in a woven capsule that had bells inside. As he strummed the berimbau, he would shake the agogo. The students were mesmerized. How could he play two instruments at once? They wanted to try to do the same. A few were successful but they tried and were interested in something new and that was more important than playing like Jason who has been studying and learning for years.

After the introduction of the instruments, he began with the Ginga (a two step movement that goes from side to side). This movement was the first step that they learned. He asked the students to do what they thought was the two step. All of them did what they had learned from videos. How wrong they were! This two step was very different from what they were used to seeing.

The students were taught how to execute a Meia Lua (half-moon kick). As the Meia Lua was executed, the partner fell to the ground in a motion called Negativa. Negativa is a movement where one falls toward the ground and stopping their momentum with their hands on the ground.

Bria going into her negativa.

A great deal of thanks to Jason Harris for his expertise!