Monica Martens

As a learning coach, I want to hold space for teachers to listen and notice; to wonder and imagine possibilities.  I want to honour, trust and believe in each unique journey of growth; knowing that I don’t have all the answers or expert knowledge and that together we are better.

I am inspired by the arts as a medium that encourages risk, emotion and beauty to communicate ideas.  Using the arts as the way we engage in learning and communicate our learning has proven powerful for me as a teacher and learner.

I am a fierce defender of the underdog and those who are underserved in our educational system.  I have recently realized that in most instances I privilege my own comfort and that of fellow adults/educators over the wellbeing of children and those who do not fit the societal norms of the privileged.  I believe that we can live in a world where all living things are valued, honoured and cared for.  I hope to practice discomfort and hard conversations in an effort to advocate for equitable educational systems where empathy and mutual respect applies to all.

Areas of interest and experience:

  • Indigenous Education Support
  • Equity Literacy
  • The Arts
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy

Fun fact:  I was the grade 9 ping pong champion of NCI in 1988.


The Seven Teachings: Lessons in honesty for children and their teachers

“Honesty comes when you learn to be fearless with yourself.  When you speak and act, straight from the heart … Innocence, curiosity and openness will keep you honest.” – Geronimo Goyathlay (from Seven Sacred Teachings by David Bouchard and Dr. Joseph Martin) Courtney Savary at Niverville Elementary School has a kind and intuitive way about…

Mar 5, 2020 · Monica Martens

Accepting Failure and Deciding to Pivot

“Well, that was a fail.”  Kristen Falk and I both looked at each other and spoke these words at the end of November.  We’d just spent an afternoon exploring African artifacts, photos and videos of various African countries and cultural expressions.  After the exploration, we gathered her grade 2s in a circle and listened to…

Jan 29, 2020 · Monica Martens

Teachers as researchers. Teachers as inquirers.

“Let’s take our students outside twice a month, minimum.  Let’s document what we’re doing when we go outside.” During our deeper learning team meeting in October, the grade 2 teachers at NES (Kate Hawgood, Bonnie Anderson, Courtney Savary and Sheila Krahn) wanted to explore how to use their new outdoor learning environments while learning about…

Dec 4, 2019 · Monica Martens

Drama Pedagogy – Rights and Responsibilities

Drama is magic with any class, any grade, maybe even any curriculum!  I haven’t tried it in a math class … yet!  I am a new convert to drama pedagogy.  You might have classified me as a “hater” … maybe that’s a bit strong.  I sure didn’t want to participate in drama anything!  Too vulnerable. …

Nov 21, 2019 · Monica Martens

Arts-based PD on the Land with Woodlawn Staff

Land-based learning is pedagogy.  What does this even mean?  Land-based learning is pedagogy?  In a Western worldview, we use the land to provide food, adventure, and as a means to make a living.  In Indigenous ways of knowing and being, I am learning that the land is used and understood much differently; land is text…

Nov 6, 2019 · Monica Martens

Math Assessment in the Early Years

About 30% of students in grade 3, in Hanover School Division, meet grade level expectations in the area of Algebraic Reasoning according to the Provincial Grade 3 Assessment results.  For the last two years, grade 1 -3 teachers across HSD have been inquiring into why this might be and what we, collectively, can do to…

Nov 2, 2019 · Monica Martens

Writing Workshop: What Happens When Children See Themselves as Writers

Peek into Sheila Krahn’s writing workshop and you’ll see children deep in thought and furiously writing their ideas into all shapes and sizes of books.  Early in the year, Sheila made one, significant change to her writing time with her kids that continues to evolve as they learn how to write from books they read…

Nov 2, 2019 · Monica Martens

Collaborating with Loose Parts on the Playground

Thirty children crowded into the space of a mid-sized sandbox holding pipes, 2x4s and metal pots and pans for 30 minutes with little supervision sounds like a recipe for disaster!  Trust me, it’s quite the opposite. This year, Niverville Elementary School added a sandbox with a wooden tipi structure and a small shed filled with…

Nov 1, 2019 · Monica Martens