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Curriculum and Instruction News

State Journal puts spotlight on Halverson's Whoopensocker program

May 23, 2017

The Wisconsin State Journal recently featured the work of UW-Madison's Erica Halverson with an innovative artistic outreach program for children called Whoopensocker. 

The Whoopensocker program is designed to help children explore their imagination and strengthen student engagement at all academic and personal levels. Halverson created the program, along with Beau Johnson and Amanda Farrar.

Erica Halverson 2015
Halverson is an associate professor with the School of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

As a partnership between UW-Madison's School of Education and Theatre LILA, Whoopensocker sends guest teachers into elementary classrooms to engage the students in writing, performing, and other forms of active learning every week. Halverson also is director of education for Theatre LILA.

Students are encouraged to write in journals every week on different topics, and at the end of the six-week program, the teaching artists will turn several of the writings into vaudeville-style plays or musical numbers and perform them for the whole school.

Halverson told the Wisconsin State Journal that Whoopensocker allows children to feel validated in their creative ideas, whether they are big or small. 

This year, Whoopensocker went to Emerson, Sandburg and Lincoln Elementary schools. Moving forward, there will be four schools participating in the program next year, as well as a pilot-after school program. 

Read the full State Journal article here: "Third graders whoop it up in new outreach program."
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