SHARP Students Read and Write!
Our program is tailored to help first 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 incorporate 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. We refer to this as the 8 Building Blocks of SHARP. 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 three minute video explaining how SHARP works.
8 Building Blocks of SHARP
- 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 (September)
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.
- First-Semester In-School Presentations for each grade level (October to Mid-December)
Hundreds of presentations are given at schools participating in the SHARP Literacy program. SHARP presenters meet with each grade level at each school to show and discuss art slides. Opportunities to engage in oral practice and view slides helps students to reinforce vocabulary words related to the curriculum and develop art appreciation.
- Second-Semester In-School Presentations (January/February)
Second-semester presentations explore a new selection of artwork and prepare students to complete creative writing pieces for an exciting “Year-End Writing Challenge.”
- A Field Trip to the Milwaukee Art Museum (Mid-Year)
SHARP students enjoy a field trip to the art museum. For most of these children it is the first time they have visited this cultural gem in our community. Vocabulary words are reinforced as the youngsters discover the power of art to move, inspire and educate.
- 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.
- A Family Achievement Recognition Event (May)
Near the end of the school year, a rousing “Family Achievement Recognition Event” is held. SHARP students have opportunities to showcase what they have learned to classmates and proud family members. The opportunity to see their work in print and hear the applause of a live audience does wonders for building confidence in these students.
Wisconsin Elementary Curriculum
First grade – Science – Pollination and the Life Cycle of Growing Things
Second grade – Science – Weather, Water and the Environment
Third grade – Social Studies – Communities
Fourth grade – Social Studies – The State of Wisconsin
Fifth grade – Social Studies – Building a Nation (the beginnings of America)