Our program is tailored to help K5 through fifth grade students build reading, writing and researching skills by using the visual arts as the primary tool for learning. SHARP Literacy is successful because it is a year-round program that can be fully integrated into school curriculum. Each lesson corresponds with Wisconsin state-mandated curriculum and is aligned with the Milwaukee Public School district’s Comprehensive Literacy Plan and the Common Core Standards. All materials are provided by SHARP Literacy and we work with participating teachers to plan each year, adjusting our programming to in special initiatives.
SHARP Literacy’s program is based on a strong core process that is reviewed and updated each year to ensure our teaching tools remain the most up-to-date and effective in literacy enrichment. With that strong foundation in place, our staff and the teachers in our participating schools develop each year’s Writing Challenge and other enrichment components. View a video explaining how SHARP works.
SHARP Program Timeline
- Teacher Summer Workshop (June)
Many of our teachers, from those who are newer to SHARP to those who have been with the program for many years, gather each June to update our Student Workbooks and Teacher Guides. Together we review lesson plans for the upcoming school year. We introduce ideas for our special projects – a We Love to Learn Book or Mural. We gain a wealth of information from these educators during these workshops focused on creative writing and reading instruction, and they walk away with literacy strategies they can use across the curriculum.
- Teacher In-Service (October)
The new school year kicks off with a Teacher In-Service. Educators divide into breakout sessions for each grade level and receive information relevant to the vocabulary and required curriculum for their grade level. We train teachers on how the use of visual resources can aid language comprehension, creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving.
- Student Workbooks and Teacher Guides (October)
Each year we update our grade specific Student Workbooks and corresponding Teacher Guides. Thousands of these classroom resources are printed and distributed each year. All workbook pages are aligned with the content areas of the Common Core Standards.
- Fall and Spring In-School Presentations for each grade level
SHARP staff go into classrooms and present material that reinforces vocabulary words and prepares students for their field studies. Second-semester presentations explore a new selection of artwork, the second half of the vocabulary words and additional artifacts, and prepare students to complete creative writing pieces for an exciting “Year-End Writing Challenge.”
- Curriculum-based Field Studies
Milwaukee SHARP students attend field studies at Lynden Sculpture Garden, Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA), Discovery World, Growing Power, Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful, and the Milwaukee Art Museum which are led by SHARP-trained docents.
Waukesha SHARP students attend field studies at NuGenesis Farm, Museum of Wisconsin Art (MOWA), Retzer Nature Center, Growing Power, Keep Greater Milwaukee Beautiful, and Waukesha County Museum.
- An End-of-the-Year Writing Challenge (March)
The Writing Challenge is an opportunity for our students to pull together all they have learned – vocabulary, basic themes and ideas – and use the visual arts to produce an original writing piece that they will see published.
Wisconsin Elementary Curriculum
K4: Science – Living Things
K5: Science – Plants
First grade: Science – Bees
Second grade: Science – Great Lakes
Third grade: Social Studies – Urban Agriculture
Fourth grade: Social Studies – Wisconsin
Fifth grade: Social Studies – Storytelling in Art