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 African 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 used as an ancestral food offering in Candomble. This spiritual tradition is 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 
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