Monday, September 21, 2020

BUGS Program Application and Intro Video

It's Back-to-School Time!! 

The BUGS After-School Program is getting prepared to start our new school year on Monday, Oct. 5th. AND WE WANT YOUR CHILD TO BE A PART!!! We are going virtual and working on other ways to provide programming for our students as well. 

The BUGS After-School Program is an out-of-school time educational program, under Living Classrooms Foundation, that helps to improve the reading and math skills of students while also helping to improve their school day attendance. We offer academic assistance along with 4 hands-on components. They are Cooking, Creative Arts, Gardening and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). We meet Monday through Thursdays. In this virtual environment, our hours will be from 3:30-5:45. And when in-person instruction has been made allowable, our hours will be from 3:00-6:30 pm on our Living Classrooms East Harbor Campus which is located at 802 S. Caroline St. in Baltimore

In the video below, you'll get a chance to see and hear from all of the BUGS Staff and Educators.

If you are interested in applying for the BUGS After-School Program, you must meet the following criteria...

* Is your child a 2nd to 5th grade student at Commodore John Rodgers Elementary School?

*As the parent or guardian, do you drive? Or have a means of transportation for picking up your child? 

*As the parent or guardian, will you be able to pick up your child from the BUGS Campus, 802 S. Caroline St., once in-person instruction has started?

*If you are a new parent wanting to sign your child up for the BUGS Program, will your child be able to transition into in-person programming once it has been made allowable?

Please watch the video! Click the link to download a copy of the BUGS Application. Be sure to send in your application very quickly because there are just a few spots to fill. The sooner the application is completed and submitted, the better the chances you have at getting your child accepted and enrolled in the program. If the spots fill up quickly and your child does not get accepted into the program, no need to worry! We keep submitted applications and create a waitlist for eligible students. Your child could be accepted into the BUGS Program at a later time when a spot becomes available.

Once the application has been completed and signed, send it to Tara Martin at You can also forward any questions to the same email address.

We look forward to receiving your application and having your child be a part of our program!!

BUGS Application (English Version)

BUGS Application (Spanish Version)

Thursday, May 28, 2020

BUGS Go Indoor Skydiving at iFly

Water droplets, basketballs, pikachus, parachutes, and BUGS students all took flight! Hearts raced, adrenaline pumped, and onlookers gazed in amazement as wind speeds reached up to 150 mph inside a plexiglass wind tunnel engineered for indoor skydiving. On February 13, 2020, students in the BUGS program traveled to iFly Baltimore- a premier indoor skydiving facility. Not only did they learn how to indoor skydive, they also participated in a STEM lesson challenging their understanding of the history and physics of flight. The iFly staff also fascinated students by showing off their more advanced skydiving moves as they flipped and spun effortlessly in the indoor wind tunnel.


Once the students arrived and checked in, an iFly STEM Educator walked through an interactive presentation. They learned about the closed loop vertical tunnel that iFly uses for indoor skydiving, wind tunnels, and the different forces that affect flight. Students were then challenged to apply their understanding by predicting the height and amount of wind force needed to propel different objects into the air. The STEM lesson concluded with a classroom experiment where students had the opportunity to build their own parachute and test how it flies in a small wind tunnel.
from Arrival and STEM Lesson



It was time to fly! However, before entering the wind tunnel, iFly staff made certain that everyone understood as well as practiced the safety rules and basic indoor skydiving techniques. They even had an opportunity to watch some of the staff demonstrate flying in the wind tunnel. With all of the flips and turns, they put on quite a show!

Each student anxiously awaited their 60 seconds they got to spend in the wind tunnel with a certified instructor from iFly. Once completed, everyone received their first flight certificate!
Flight Practice, Flights in Wind Tunnel

Thanks to the staff at iFly Baltimore for an amazing experience!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A Visit to Ampersea Restaurant & Life Skill Building Workshops at BUGS!

One of our partnerships here at BUGS, is with Ampersea (formerly Waterfront Kitchen) restaurant. Every few weeks, one of  our rotating component groups take a nice walk right down Caroline street  with resident Cooking Teacher Nicola Norman to see how Ampersea links farm to fork in hands on activities.

Our BUGS youth always enjoy these mini field trips, and getting to just be themselves while exploring real world possibilities - like culinary arts as a career!

Chef Nelson from Ampersea treated our 2nd - 3rd grade girl group the butterflies to a fine dining experience featuring housemade crab cakes with fries (topped with sprouts from the BUGS greenhouse!) with refreshment on the side.

Learning through doing at the BUGS After School Program!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

We have been so busy here at BUGS preparing for our Farmer's Market (April 28th) and using science to create amazing products for sale to support our budding entrepreneurs!  Our STEM product line this year is centered around Physical and Chemical Changes.  Our BUGS students have been learning all about different types of changes and reactions through the creation of rock candy, bath bombs, soap, and slime!  Just ask our students at the farmer's market the science behind their products and they'll be happy to tell you! Through product creation, our students are learning that science is everywhere and excited to share with you all that they have learned!

In addition to being busy creating products and fine-tuning our customer service and entrepreneurial skills, we have been working on team building and recognizing the value in ourselves and each other.  This past week we went to Camp Puh Tuk and our students participated in team building challenges.  The team wall, pictured below is our BUGS ladies working together to get everyone up and over the wall.  They did wonderfully and really worked together, using communication and collaboration to come up with a strategy for success! 

We always love when we have visitors at BUGS and this week we had the fortune of learning from fellow scientists from Bucknell University.  They provided some awesome activities for our ladies with a focus on increasing female engagement in STEM subjects.  Our ladies had a blast making slime, shooting off a bottle rocket, engineering marshmallow and spaghetti towers, and creating electrical circuits.  While learning by doing our girls got the opportunity to chat with college students studying STEM fields about what they are learning and what future careers may be interesting to them.  Based on my observations, we definitely have some future scientists in our midst!

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!!!