B.A.R.S. (Bomani Armah wRiting System)

BARS-Instagram-wordpressHello fellow educators!  For well over 15 years I have been using hip-hop, poetry and multi-media disciplines to teach fun and informative workshops with all ages from kindergarteners to graduate students. As you know, the art of MC’ing is reliant on the ability to rearrange complex ideas into concise rhymes. If they done correctly, MC’s can make memorable rhymes that stick with the listener and inform them about the world around them. It is commonly believed that the art of hip-hop rhyming is an innate talent, but by using my program B.A.R.S. to apply the principles of the writing process, any student can be taught to rhyme on topic.

B.A.R.S. workshops, residencies and teaching materials show students how a well- written essay resembles a well-written song, with the Main Idea being the thesis paragraph in an essay and a chorus/refrain/hook in a song, while the Supporting Details in an essay are just like the verses. Using my innovative B.A.R.S. techniques, students learn how to summarize any topic with a well organized paragraphs and rhymes.

The B.A.R.S. three golden rules of creative writing are:1. The only answer that’s wrong is an answer that’s blank – When asked to write creatively, you are being asked your opinion or what you think. You cannot possible get that answer wrong so feel free to say what you’re thinking. It might get changed, rearranged and edited, but that is all part of the process.2. Artist don’t make mistakes, we make discoveries – Thomas Edison once said “I did not fail a thousand times, I discovered a thousand ways that didn’t work”. This is the attitude that successful for explorers, scientist, and writers have! You’re not writing down the wrong word, phrase or sentences, you’re on a path to discovering the “right” word, phrase or sentences. Artist don’t make mistakes, we make discoveries!3. Do not edit in your head – It is crucially important that everyone has a notebook, diary, journal, tape recorder or some other device that allows them to document their ideas as they occur. Most creative people’s “great” ideas come from not so great ideas that are looked at and rearranged. Don’t hold anything back!

Since 2012 I have been a part of the Young Audiences of Maryland Teaching roster. This great opportunity has allowed me to receive matching grant funding to bring art integration programs into Maryland public schools. Young Artist has been a monumental help in refining my skills as a teaching artist, and introducing me to new techniques I’ve used in the classroom.  Since 2015 I have been teaching professional development classes with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts CETA program and I am excited about developing more curriculums that both teachers and artists can use i the classrooms.

Notable organizations I have worked with include, the United Methodist Church, The Washington National Cathedral, The Free Minds Book Club, Future Makers, Story Tapestries, National Organization of Concerned Black Men, National Poetry Museum, Guerilla Arts, D.C. Writers Workshop, and Class Acts Art. I have been a guest lecturer at colleges and universities around the U.S. including The University of Maryland College Park, University of Maryland Baltimore College, George Mason University, George Washington University, Towson State, Montgomery County Community College, Howard County Community College, The University of the District of Columbia, Savannah College of Art & Design, Truman State University, American University

The FDWC is a club for homeschooled boys ages 8-13 to focus on writing and communication, with an emphasis on the life and writing of Frederick Douglass. We will concentrate on abolition and the civil war, speech writing and public speaking, autobiographical writing, journalism, and music. We will critically read excerpts from Douglass’ biography (a copy will be provided) and travel to historic sites for exploration and information.

This track was part of the final writing assignment for the inaugural Frederick Douglass Writing Club (“Writing for Freedom Since 1838”). The students took field trips to Frederick Douglass’ house in South East DC, The Newseum, and Harper’s Ferry WV to learn about John Brown’s raid. We read the Narrative of the Life of a Slave by Frederick Douglass, as well as used the B.A.R.S. program and Flocabulary to increase our reading, writing and comprehension skills. Please feel free to support the FDWC by downloading this track!


If you want to be free/
If you want to be great/
Frederick Douglass said they key/
is you have to agitate/
so we learn to write and read/
and how to debate/
eighteen thirty-eight!

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