How Do I Plan? Why, GANAG, of course!

I saw a few others link up to Mrs. Stanford's Class, and I thought I'd join in because it seems like my planning is VERY different from others.
 My district requires teachers to use the GANAG format when writing lesson plans. What is GANAG, you ask? Can't say I'm surprised you don't know. GANAG is a lesson plan format created by Jane Pollock. Here's GANAG in a nutshell:
G=Goal: set the goal (objective) of the lesson. Students should interact with the goal.

A=Accessing Prior Knowledge (APK): A way to fire up the brain and spark excitement about the goal.

N=New Information: Acquire new knowledge, whether declarative or procedural.

A=Application: Students apply the knowledge in a new way.

G=Generate Goal: Generalize what has been taught, tying back to the first G.

At first sight, it kind of seems like college all over again (was I the only one who had to write 20+ part lesson plans??). I remember when the teachers were first told about this and we were like, "WHAT?!?! I'm a professional. You don't have to tell me how to write lesson plans." But I was pleasantly surprised by how GANAG actually made me a better teacher.

Before GANAG, most of my lessons were just a bunch of activities strung together. Yes, I was hitting my benchmarks and standards, but I'd find an activity and think, "Oh, that looks cute. What benchmark does that fulfill?" Now when I write lessons, I start with the goal and build my lesson around it. There's more to it, such as how to make the Gs meaningful and varied, declarative vs. procedural knowledge, using thinking strategies, giving purposeful feedback, assessment, etc. If you're interested in learning more, we used the books Improving Student Learning One Teacher at a Time and Improving Student Learning One Principal at a Time. The Principal book is actually really good for teachers because is gives suggestions of how to do it, where as the Teacher at a Time book is more like, "this is what you should do." Interesting fact you might not know: Jane Pollock co-wrote the infamous Classroom Instruction that Works, so the nine thinking strategies discussed in this book pair nicely with GANAG.

So it turns out GANAG isn't as bad as I first thought it was. Does it take me longer to GANAG lesson plans (yes, we've turned GANAG into a verb at my school :)? Yes. Not going to lie. But actually, I feel like I'm a more focused, explicit, and goal-driven teacher because of it, and my students have come to expect that format. They actually get a little miffed if I forget to write the goals for the day on the board!

Anyway, now that you have a background of what I have to do, how to I plan? The first step to recovery is admitting there is a problem. Hello, my name is Angela, and I'm a perfectionist. It's true. Those cutesy lesson plan books you can buy at the teacher store don't work for me. So instead, I make my own lesson plan template. Last year, I had each day on a single sided piece of paper, but my hand would cramp up because I was writing so small. So this year I'm doing one page, front and back. I just finished making my templates yesterday, and I LOVE how they turned out! Here's an example of one of my days:

When I plan, I only write one week at a time. I usually know where I'm headed for about 3-4 weeks in advance, but I don't like to write that far in advance in case something changes. I keep the current week stapled together and on a clipboard, which has a small compartment underneath where I store all my important documents I access on a regular basis. I plan one subject at a time, rather than day-by-day. I usually start with science or social studies because my team and I have already written GANAGed unit plans for each unit we teach. I just write the lesson number and goal on my lesson plan template (for my own reference) and attach the unit plans to the back. Easy peasy. Then I plan math. We use EveryDay Math in my district, and it is very compatible to GANAG, so that doesn't take me long either. Now reading and writing are a different story. Last year I was on a committee that correlated our district benchmarks to the Common Core, filled in where we had gaps, and then we created a month-by-month framework that lists goals for reading and writing. This document is GLORIOUS!! It will be a HUGE help when I'm planning for this upcoming year. I also use the previous year's plans and my SMARTBoard lessons I created, which I plan to use and/or tweak as necessary. When the week is done, I put it in a binder and get ready for the next week.

WOW, this has been a super long post. YAY for you for sticking with it! If I could, I'd reach through the screen and give you a cookie :)



  1. Hi!! I am your newest follower!! I found your through the Planning Linky! I look forward to reading more of your posts.


  2. Hello there!
    My district GANAG's as well (yes, verb). I haven't really gotten into it yet, but am trying since I basically have no choice! :) I'm hoping I can find a way it will work for me. Thanks for sharing a sample lesson plan. That's really what I'm looking for right now. I'm your newest follower and would love if you'd follow me, too!
    One Berry Blog

  3. Hello there!!! I am also a GANAG'er (if that's even a word). I like the format of your plans but I have trouble writing my own because I think I have to write down every single word that I will do or say. Scripted you could say. Could you please send me a copy(pic) of what a lesson looks like when you write everything down. I have not been formally trained in GANAG. We were just expected to "do" it. It was laid in our laps last year and I have struggled with it ever since. I have read Pollock's book One Teacher but not the others. I just need an example of what a lesson looks like on paper. I won't use your plans (since I have a totally different class and curriculum). I just need to see an actual plan in writing. You can email me at or

    Thanks in advance,



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