Visiting Gretchen

January 30, 2017

Physical Theater

img_4991Gretchen Berg has been a teaching artist for 35 years and she is excellent at what she does! I had the opportunity to visit her in Portland at the Riverton School a couple of weeks ago while she was doing a program under Side X Side.

I walked into a classroom of 4th graders who were sitting on the floor with Gretchen sharing ideas on ‘extreme weather’. She asked them: “share something with me that you’ve learned about the weather. Something that if a 3rd grader heard it, they would say: “WOW”! Students were anxious to share and by the time Gretchen was finished she had at least 3 pages of notes and ideas. This was STEAM in action!

Gretchen spent time with the students moving around the room, freezing, and unfreezing, listening and watching each other. The students became more and more careful about moving in the space and were attentive to their classmates. Gretchen spoke softly and I noticed the students were very attentive.

img_4985She had them working individually and transferred into working collaboratively. All the while preparing for the next steps. Gretchen will take their ideas and write a script for the students that is not only interesting but age appropriate in every way.

Gretchen meets with each of the three classes of grade 4 students six different times for 60 minutes. The final class meeting is for the quick rehearsal for the final performance. The culminating performance is during an afternoon with parents and family members invited to attend.

While in Portland visiting Gretchen I also had a chance to meet with the folks at Side X Side to learn more about their program. Side X Side is an educational nonprofit with a mission to promote engaged learning, critical thinking, problem solving and exploration while enhancing K-12 content curriculum through innovative, collaborative, creative, multi-disciplinary programming. On December 11, 2016 I included a blog post on the Side X Side program. Please check it out to learn more.


  1. Thanks for the visit! I’m so honored to be a Side X Side teaching artist working with those terrific Riverton students & teachers. – Gretchen Berg

  2. Great to see you ‘in action’ Gretchen!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: