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In response to student needs in the community, SHARP Literacy has expanded the delivery of its award-winning educational program to 49 urban schools throughout Milwaukee, Racine and Waukesha. The expansion reflects a new milestone for SHARP by reaching more students than ever in a record number of schools. SHARP’s full schedule of STEAM-integrated programs and hands-on learning experiences will be implemented by SHARP educators both in-person and in a virtual/hybrid mode to thousands of K3 through 5th grade students beginning September 27.
SHARP Literacy’s curriculum for 2021/2022 includes new Social Emotional Learning (SEL) competencies – like emotional development, self-concept and social competence – woven into all lessons, and an expanded Design Through Code program. Science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) are incorporated into curricula based on SHARP We Love to Learn books and include in-person and virtual educational tours. Students in K3 through fifth grade will participate in workshops and tours that will engage them in a variety of creative and innovative ways.
SHARP is working closely with educators on meeting the needs of our young students, according to Lynda Kohler, president and CEO of SHARP Literacy. “Our strong partnerships with educators have led the way on this huge expansion of our program. As we continue to deal with COVID learning regression, we’re working hand in hand with principals and educators on providing more students with STEAM-based educational programs that address not only their academic needs, but also the critical social and emotional aspects of their learning.” Kohler went on to say, “Together with educators, we’re looking at the whole child and providing them with every opportunity to succeed.”
Select Programs for 2021/2022
Animal Habits + Habitats – K4
Let’s find out more about animals! Through an arts-integrated approach that combines STEAM, literacy and SEL, Animal Habits and Habitats teaches students about animal needs, adaptations, behaviors and shelters. With interactive lessons based on SHARP’s We Love to Learn book, Aloha Adventure: A Story of Two Friends, students study the song of whales, design a home for their favorite furry or feathered friend, and take amazing virtual tours with animals to the desert, the rainforest and the coral reef. The program comes full circle with an educational tour of Milwaukee Art Museum.
Plants and Seasons – K5
How does a seed become a plant? Young learners follow the journey of a seed to a plant as it traverses through the four seasons and they discover how plants grow, change and adapt. Lessons that combine STEAM, literacy and SEL introduce students to the science of trees while helping them make personal connections. Through activities like read-alouds, observation, comparing and contrasting, hands-on art and visualization, students learn the scientific process that turns a tiny seed into a growing, thriving plant. An educational tour of Lynden Sculpture Garden coupled with a virtual tour of Hale O’Maleo Hawaiian Cultural Center round out the experience.
Cycles in Nature – 2nd Grade
What’s happening in the water all round us? Cycles in Nature encourages students to take a deep dive into the science of salmon and the water they inhabit through workshops incorporating art, literacy, science, math and SEL. Utilizing SHARP’s We Love to Learn book A Great Lakes Adventure: Salmon’s Journey Home, student lessons focus on analyzing the water cycle through the creation of mixed media diagrams, and examining the life cycle of salmon through movement and arts-integrated activities. Through a series of interactive and engaging workshops, students are building critical thinking skills, making connections and increasing retention. The program culminates with an educational tour of Discovery World.
All About Wisconsin – 4rd Grade
In this program, young learners put on their explorer hats and dig into Wisconsin’s geography and the work of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Through STEAM-integrated lessons based on SHARP’s We Love to Learn book All About Wisconsin, students discover fascinating aspects about Wisconsin and themselves. Utilizing Google Earth, students participate in a number of interactive and engaging lessons like illustrating a Wisconsin landscape, drafting an organic building and using geometry to design a stained-glass window. Through these hands-on activities, students broaden their understanding and appreciation of our diverse state. Students see architecture come to life during an educational tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Burnham Block.
Design Through Code (DTC) 3rd – 5th Grade
SHARP’s Design Through Code programs for third- through fifth-graders have been expanded to include over 1,500 students in urban schools throughout Milwaukee. Programs for each grade include different themes, but all are focused on introducing elementary students to computer science and the language of coding. Within the curriculum, students learn essential skills such as problem-solving, logic, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. For fifth-graders, lessons on Code.org, engineering mini-challenges with Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), and a unit on physical computing with Gearbox Labs help prepare students for middle school and beyond. Educational tours of MSOE’s STEM Center and CREATE Institute complete the program for fourth and fifth grade students, respectively. Adam Carr, author and self-described “Milwaukeeist,” enhances the program for third-graders with virtual “walking tours” of SHARP Literacy’s Urban Greenhouse at Silver Spring Neighborhood Center/Browning Elementary School and Alice’s Garden.
SHARP Literacy’s 2021/2022 Education Programs are part of the organization’s year-round learning continuum that offers classroom and after-school instruction, a Summer Learning Program, and educational projects and tours in partnership with multiple museums and learning sites in Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties. SHARP’s educational programs throughout the year are generously funded with support fromAmerican Family Insurance Dreams Foundation, Brady Corporation Foundation, Herzfeld Foundation, Komatsu, Milwaukee Bucks/Fiserv, Northwestern Mutual, Rockwell Automation and Quad.
About SHARP Literacy
SHARP Literacy, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) Milwaukee nonprofit educational program whose mission is to partner with educators to foster a love of learning and advance children’s futures through innovative STEAM-based experiences and programs. The primary goal of SHARP Literacy is to provide elementary school students with an imaginative learning experience that builds confidence, self-esteem, and a greater awareness of the world. In 2021/2022, SHARP Literacy, Inc. will impact growth in foundational literacy skills in thousands of elementary school students and educators in 49 schools across Milwaukee, Racine and Waukesha. For more information, visit www.sharpliteracy.org.