SHARP in the Community

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SHARP Focus on STEAM: Video Series

Watch our series of educational videos providing young learners with a wide range of lessons – from science exploration activities, to STEAM-focused/earth-friendly art projects, to Read With Me, a unique opportunity for students to virtually read aloud with local sports figures and community leaders.

Explore STEAM

Integrate science, technology, engineering and math with art in unplugged coding activities and more! When you explore STEAM, you’ll learn about concepts like algorithms, coding languages and sequences.

SHARP Summer Learning Program – Urban Agriculture

Vermicomposting, aquaponics, how to grow food—these are just a few of the important concepts our students got to explore in our Urban Agriculture curriculum. Today marks the final day of our Summer Learning Program, and we were so excited to be able to work with our students again. We think you’ll find that they were excited too!

Milwaukee Murals with Adam Carr

Join writer Adam Carr for an exploration into Milwaukee murals that shape neighborhood identities and our city’s cultural narrative. Learn about local artists, Milwaukee history and the movements that inspired some of the most breathtaking public art in our city today.

Financial Literacy with Great Midwest Bank

It’s never too early to teach children about financial literacy. What is commerce? How do you count money? What are some ways to spend, save and share it? Our wonderful partner Great Midwest Bank combines math and critical thinking in a video that makes talking to kids about money simple and fun!

Behind the Scenes: Summer Program Activity Kits

It’s a behind-the-scenes look at SHARP’s Summer Programs! We’re so excited to be back with our students again. For now, get a sneak peek at how our Activity Kits were made for Urban Agriculture, Urban Techies and Art on the Move. Special thanks to all of our Summer Program partners and sponsors; none of this would be possible without you!

Urban Gardening with Hope

It’s the perfect time of year to learn about urban agriculture. How can coffee grounds help flowers grow? What does “transplanting” mean? These questions and more are answered as SHARP Guide Hope walks us through adventures in urban gardening.

Graph Paper Programming

 Downloadable Activity Sheet

Get your markers ready: math and art unite for a fun and simple programming activity! SHARP Guide JoAnne shows us how to write our own algorithms using symbols, and how to execute those algorithms to create grid-based drawings.

Character Development with Ian Corrao

 Downloadable Activity Sheet

Join artist Ian Corrao as he walks us through creating illustrated characters with big personalities. Ian is the creative mind and illustrator behind SHARP’s first graphic novel. Design Through Code students from Rogers Street Academy and Notre Dame School of Milwaukee also helped concept his characters, and we’re excited to announce the book is coming soon! In the meantime, why not get started on a graphic novel of your own?

Urban Agriculture with Mr. Eriks

Plants love warm weather, so what better time to learn about urban agriculture in Milwaukee? Mr. Eriks walks us through composting, shows us the difference between annual and perennial flowers, and even introduces us to his feathery friend, Pretty Bird the chicken. Stay tuned until the end for math and art extensions you can use when gardening!

Exploring Milwaukee with Adam Carr

In this video based on Explore MKE: Your Neighborhood, Our City, author Adam Carr explores a word you might not hear often — repurposing. But every day as you move through your neighborhood and even your home, you encounter this idea in action. Join Adam as he shares stories of how Milwaukeeans have used their creativity to solve problems and give new life to old materials.

Design Your Own Insect

It’s time to dive into the creepy-crawly world of bugs and insects! Learn about biological terms like species, thorax and entomology, and design your very own bug with Lily and Mary. Math, science and art all come into play in this STEAM-based lesson.

Drinking Candle Experiment

To all the older kids out there: did you know you can create a chemistry lab in your own home with the “Candle Drinking Experiment?” Learn about concepts like oxygen, elements and pressure, then use art and math to take your experiment even further.

Science and Art with Rainbows

Ever wondered about the science behind rainbows? Choose your own art project to illustrate concepts like refraction, the white light spectrum and color schemes.

Hunting for Shapes Bingo

 Downloadable Activity Sheet
Learn about geometric shapes and how they feature in art with “Hunting for Shapes Bingo!” Go on a walk or drive to explore your neighborhood; will you be the first to find four shapes?

Jump Rope and Physics

Get some exercise and a basic physics lesson all in one! Learn about waves, the transfer of energy and how to connect coding, math and art to science.

Loops in Algorithms

 Downloadable Activity Sheet

This unplugged coding activity teaches children all about optimizing algorithms with loops! Help the hungry emoji find the fruit using math and coding concepts.

Encrypted Messaging

 Downloadable Activity Sheet

Create your own coding language and learn how encryption works, in this STEAM activity. Can your family and friends crack the code and decipher your secret message?

Design Your Own Emoji

 Downloadable Activity Sheet

Let’s be honest: who hasn’t wanted to create their own emoji? Grade school students can use math, technology and art concepts to design an emoji all their own!

Skyscraper Challenge

Here’s a fun activity for elementary school kids: can you build a skyscraper as tall as you are (or even taller?) It’s eco-art, engineering and math, all rolled into one. All you need are some cardboard boxes, a tape measure and a helpful assistant.
Paper Airplane Algorithms

Downloadable Code.org Worksheet
Meagan of SHARP Literacy teaches basic coding concepts using paper airplanes! (Free B-Roll by Videezy.com)


Create Eco-Art

Learn how to make art using earth-friendly practices and concepts of math, science and engineering. When you create eco-art, you’ll learn about the color wheel, ephemeral art, geometry and more.

Make Your Own Mandala

Create a mesmerizing mandala! If you have unused paper plates, coffee filters or paper at the ready, why not repurpose these household items into a work of art? SHARP Guide Sue shows us how to create these hypnotic artworks and where you can find real world examples in your community.

Adventures in Letterboxing

Letterboxing, a scavenger hunt for homemade stamps, combines creativity, puzzle solving and outdoor exploration. Becky demonstrates how to make your own stamps and where to find letterboxing scavenger hunts all over your community! Plus, stay tuned to find ways to incorporate science and art into this eco-art activity.

Creating a Recycled Journal

Conserve natural resources and get creative by making your own journal from a recycled notebook! Join eco-art expert Alia as she combines mathematical measurements and art for an inspiring activity.
Endangered Species Portrait

 Downloadable Activity Sheet
Biology, art and conservation combine in this impactful eco-art lesson. Learn all about endangered animals and their habitats, and create your own majestic lion portrait from recycled materials!

Water Pollution Solutions

 Downloadable Activity Sheet
Learn all about water pollution solutions, and reduce your impact on the environment by creating your very own eco-art fish!

Symmetry and Suncatchers

 Downloadable Activity Sheet
Bring a pop of color to your windows with your own DIY suncatcher! Children will learn about bilateral and radial symmetry, as well as asymmetry in the natural world.
Paper Mosaic Biomes

 Downloadable Activity Sheet

Art meets science and math: learn all about biomes, ratios and recycling as you create your very own eco-friendly mosaic!

Nature Weaving

Downloadable Activity Sheet

Get your kids outside and ready to learn! Your little artists will combine math and environmental concepts to create eco-art that changes with the seasons.

Nature Color Wheel

Downloadable Activity Sheet

Get your kids outside for a colorful creative project! This activity combines science and math with art, as kids make their very own nature color wheels using outdoor and indoor materials.

Rock Balancing Sculpture

Learn how to create your own rock balancing sculpture with Daryl!
– Explore physics concepts of gravity and balance
– Use art elements (shape, form, color and texture)


Read With Me

Join your favorite local celebrities as they share their love of literacy! Read with Coach Paul Combs of Carroll University Men’s Basketball, radio host KB from 97.3 The Game and so many more!

Joy Powers, WUWM 89.7 FM

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Joy Powers of WUWM 89.7 FM reads this inspiring Dr. Seuss book, a tale about overcoming adversity and finding one’s way through life.

Mike Curkov, CBS 58 News

Read With Me: Mike Curkov of CBS 58 News reads Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, a tale about self-acceptance and celebrating the differences between ourselves and others.

Matt Donovan, Milwaukee Admirals

Don’t Push the Button! Matt Donovan of the Milwaukee Admirals and his son Dean read this book by Bill Cotter and do their best to help Larry the Monster return to normal.

Marshall Chay, McDonald’s Owner-Operator

Ready to read? SHARP Board member and McDonald’s owner-operator Marshall Chay reads a family favorite: Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

Dori Zori, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Dori Zori of 88Nine Radio Milwaukee reads Are You My Mother? A beloved children’s classic since 1960, this tale recounts the adventures of a hatchling bird trying to find his mom.

Sheldon Dutes, WISN-12 News

Join SHARP Board member and WISN-TV Anchor/Reporter Sheldon Dutes in a reading of The Bad Seed. This delightful children’s tale shows how anyone can make positive changes, regardless of their past circumstances.

Troy Grosenick, Milwaukee Admirals

Read with American Hockey League’s 2019-20 “Man of the Year” and Milwaukee Admiral’s goalie, Troy Grosenick! Join us for not one but TWO stories: Inside the Net and I Know A Monkey.

Steve Santini, Milwaukee Admirals

Read With Me: Steven Santini of the Milwaukee Admirals reads a classic story that children have enjoyed since 1967: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Carl Deffenbaugh, FOX6 News

Read With Me: Carl Deffenbaugh of FOX6 News and his daughter Lila read a humorous but touching tale called Mother Bruce!

Katie Crowther, TMJ4 News

Join Katie Crowther, TMJ4 News Anchor and SHARP Young Professionals Board member, as she reads Will You Be My Sunshine. Enjoy this uplifting tale about finding bright spots of love and support in our lives.

Tarik Moody, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Adventure with Tarik Moody, Digital Director and DJ at 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, into the tale of Where the Wild Things Are. This award-winning children’s classic has delighted young readers for years with its beautiful illustrations and whimsical narrative.

Debra Katz, Literacy Advocate and Community Volunteer

Read With Me: Join Debra Katz, literacy advocate and community volunteer, as she reads Messes of Dresses. It’s a memorable tale and a great reminder for all of us to cherish what we already have!

Shannon Sims, TMJ4 News

Read With Me: Shannon Sims of TMJ4 News reads Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. This Read With Me video will be music to your ears, as you and your children follow along!

Steve “The Homer” True, ESPN Milwaukee

Read With Me: Homer True of ESPN Milwaukee’s Homer & Gabe shares “the greatest children’s book ever”: Caps for Sale.

Natalie Shepherd, CBS 58

Natalie Shepherd of CBS 58 reads The Good Egg and shares some important advice for all of us staying at home right now: “Make sure that you’re being good to yourself, good to your family, your brothers and sisters, and have a good day.”

KB, 97.3 The Game

Join KB from 97.3 The Game’s “Drew and KB” as he shares one of his son’s all-time favorite books: Clifford’s First Autumn! Who knows? It may even inspire some storytime in your own home!

Paul Combs & Pio Pete

Read With Me: Join Carroll University’s Paul Combs and Pio Pete as they read an Easter-themed tale. Go Pios!

Bonus: Pio Pete’s Favorite Book!

After a successful Read With Me session, Pio Pete shares his all-time favorite book.


Community Murals:
Learning as Art

SHARP’s murals provide children with the opportunity to express themselves through art. Each mural starts with research about a particular topic. Students then write about what they have learned and further express it through the visual arts. The students collaborate as a team to create a large-scale mural that later is often displayed in the community. Each mural is a beautiful, visual exploration of a specific subject as seen through the eyes of our children.

Artist Sally Duback has guided SHARP students to transform their art into finished mosaics. Twenty-seven mural projects have been installed throughout Milwaukee — at General Mitchell International Airport, Discovery World, Miller Park and many other locations.

 Lake CountryShorehaven
Seniors from Shorehaven in Oconomowoc and students from Whitter Elementary in Waukesha collaborated to create this Lake Country-themed mural.


Explore MKEOvation Sarah Chudnow
Approximately 25 5th grade students from Messmer St. Mary’s School & 15 seniors from Ovation Sarah Chudnow worked together to create the mural, Explore MKE. Ovation Communities sponsored the project.


Connected by Code Brianna’s DreamMSOE Grohmann Museum
Approximately 25 4th & 5th grade students in SHARP’s Design Through Code program created the mural. It was sponsored by MSOE, Wisconsin Arts Board & Northwestern Mutual.


Eagle CodersForest Home School
25 Forest Home 4th grade students in SHARP’s Design Through Code program created this mural. It was sponsored by MSOE, Wisconsin Arts Board, Mary Nohl Foundation & Northwestern Mutual.


Discovering WaukeshaCarroll University Campus Center
SHARP Literacy partnered with Carroll University and the School District of Waukesha to create a “Discovering Waukesha” mural at Carroll University Campus Center Artist Sally Duback led the project, with 150 second and third grade students participating from Banting Elementary School, Summit View Elementary School, Whittier Elementary School and La Casa de Esperanza, all in Waukesha. The mural includes landmarks, cityscapes and elements of Waukesha communities that make Waukesha a unique and special place to live.


BeePrairie Springs Environmental Education Center
SHARP Literacy, Inc. partnered with Carroll University’s Prairie Springs Environmental Education Center to create three mosaic “Bee” murals. Artist Sally Duback led the project, with 130 second grade students participating from Banting Elementary School, Summit View Elementary School and Whittier Elementary School in Waukesha. The “Bee” murals were based on SHARP Literacy’s We Love to Learn book, A Busy Bee: The Story of Bella the Honey Bee.


Drop to Dinner Neighborhood House Garden Park
Artist in Residence Sally Duback, SHARP Literacy staff and Neighborhood House summer program students created a mural depicting urban agriculture. The Drop to Dinner mural at Neighborhood House’s Garden Park was unveiled on August 21, 2015.


Movable FeastMiller Park
SHARP students from Lutheran Special School and Education Services worked with Milwaukee-based artist Sally Duback to create a mural based on SHARP’s 12th We Love to Learn book, There Grows the Neighborhood: Agriculture in the City.


FreedomWar Memorial
Students from Doerfler, Forest Home, St. Martini and Trowbridge Schools wrote themes on the meaning of freedom and used them to create the images that became a mural installed in the War Memorial.


TransportationIntermodal Station
SHARP Literacy staff worked in collaboration with the United Neighborhood Community Centers of Milwaukee to guide over 400 students in grades 3-6 to research and complete writing assignments about transportation needs in our community. The types of transportation the children studied are represented in this beautiful mosaic.


Greater Milwaukee Circle of LifeMarquette University Alumni Memorial Union
This mural was part of an ambitious four-year collaborative project to bridge racial and cultural divides. Students at five participating schools researched, read and wrote about the heritage and customs of their own cultures while also learning about other cultures. The resulting mosaic illustrates Greater Milwaukee’s rich ethnic, social and religious diversity.


Anna F. Doerfler Community School
Doerfler elementary school students used their research, language and social studies skills to study four major holidays (Thanksgiving, Three Kings Day, the Fourth of July and Day of the Dead) that are meaningful for the predominantly Hispanic/Latino community at the school. Students worked with Milwaukee artist Sally Duback in making the holiday scenes come to life.


The Evolution of TechnologyDiscovery World
This mural project partnered SHARP students from Irving J. Seher School with children from the Don and Sallie Davis Branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee to create The Evolution of Technology, based on studies about the role technology plays in our history and lives. The mural features mechanical and robotic pieces from Rockwell Automation, the primary sponsor for the mural.


Greenfield Elementary School
Students in grades 2-5 at Greenfield Bilingual Elementary School participated in the creation of this mural. Each grade generated a panel based on the writing assignment tied to their individual grade’s curriculum.


Mosaic of CultureWe Energies CommunitiesGeneral Mitchell International Airport
A collaborative effort between SHARP, We Energies and Milwaukee County, the Mosaic of Culture mural was installed at General Mitchell International Airport on the 2nd Floor skywalk. Approximately 1,000 3rd grade students from eight schools created this mural.


Lake Express Ferry Terminal
To create this mural, SHARP students used a newly developed social studies curriculum based on People of Michigan/People of the World. About 500 4th grade students from two schools created the mural for the ferry terminal that provides high-speed service between Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Muskegon, Michigan.


Ceria M. Travis Academy
Students in grades 3-4 at the academy created a mural for their school after studying communities around Milwaukee.


Building a NationForest Home Elementary School
Students in grades 3-5 at Forest Home Avenue Elementary School worked with artists to create a mural based on the fifth grade unit, Building a Nation. The project reinforced students’ learnings about the American Revolution as well as promoted diversity and cultural awareness.


Four SeasonsSt. Rose Catholic Urban Academy
Working with artists in residence, 2nd grade students created a mural for their school based on their studies of weather and the seasons.


Messmer Preparatory Catholic School
Based on their research and study of the Milwaukee community, 3rd grade students created a mural to display in their school.


Building a NationUrban Day 12th Street School
Based on the curriculum, Building a Nation, 5th grade students created this mural.


Mosaic BenchNeighborhood House Garden Park
SHARP Summer Learning Gain Initiative students worked with Artist in Residence, Sally Duback.