Ga-what?  This is an acronym that is being tossed around in every classroom in my district.  What’s it being used for, you may ask?  Why, teacher evaluation, of course.

I am not opposed to teacher evaluation.  I teach with my door open and am completely fine with any colleague or administrator coming in.  I do my job.  I have a plan each and every day.  My classroom has kids learning, working, asking questions and generally enjoying themselves.  It’s a friendly environment where we sometimes have conversations about life intermixed with our math topic of the day.

So back to this GANAG thing…  There is a form that is being used in each school to measure how good of a teacher we all are.  Here’s what GANAG stands for:

Goal: Set the learning goal/benchmark or objective.

Access: Access students’ prior knowledge building engagement through establishing immediate relevancy; a “hook” that is a short introduction to the lesson.

New Information:  Acquire new information – declarative and/or procedural.

Apply: Apply a thinking skill or use the knowledge in the new situation.  Opportunity for feedback provided.

Generalize:  Generalize what has been taught.

For now they are only concerned that every teacher in the district (yes, all 3000+ of us) has implemented the first G.  How do they measure this?  We all have to have standards, overarching questions and guiding questions posted in the room.  Yes, I’m a good teacher if I have all of this crap stuff posted on my walls.

This is all fine and dandy if you teach the same class every period.  But if you have multiple preps and travel to a different room, you’re spending all of this extra time on stuff that I don’t think the kids really care about.  The guiding question is good.  The first page of my flipchart always has the title of the section of the book and the objectives have been turned into guiding questions.  During the lesson, I refer to the questions and after I’m done presenting my stuff, we go back to the original questions and talk about them.

Standards?  Yes, we need to know the standards that we’re teaching, but they have changed each year lately and they certainly aren’t in kid-friendly language.  They’re long and trying to post them all in your room is ridiculous.  It’s not like you can get a font big enough (and printed out) for kids to read from their desks.  And there’s no better answer to the question; “Why do we have to learn this?” than, “the state says so.”  That certainly will hook them into the lesson.

To complicate matters even more…  My school is so full this year that every room is used every period of the day.  We have 34 teachers that travel to other rooms at least one period of the day, if not all of them.  If you’re traveling to a room in your subject area, chances are that your standards will be posted in that room.  But what if you teach English and you’re in a Social Studies room?  Ugh.

With my new technology I thought that putting the guiding questions on the first slide of my flipchart would solve the problem.  I make several of these presentations at a time.  I plug-in the computer and it’s all set.  But what if a district person comes to observe me and they missed the first slide?  No guiding question is posted.  Shame on me.  I could be obnoxious and use the ticker tape feature with the guiding question and annoy the heck out of my students. But I respect them too much to deliberately bug them like that.

So even though I feel like I am actually presenting more focused and cohesive lessons by using the guiding questions (and already doing the whole GANAG thing), I’ll probably get my wrist slapped because they are not posted.  Part of me wants to be defiant to prove how stupid they are being.  But I’m not quite sure how to make that point.


6 Responses to “GANAG”

  1. dkzody Says:

    I quit posting when the kids told me they didn’t read those in any classroom and thought they were dumb. Then, if anyone questioned me, I would ask a student to explain…worked very well. However, it was very annoying.

    The past two years I got NO ONE in my classrooms because I didn’t teach “real” classes. I actually had a district person tell me that when I pulled him in to see what great things my students were doing in multimedia. “Sorry, but your class isn’t A-G so we don’t have time.” I knew it was time to go.

  2. Stephanie S Erickson Says:

    I put ALL my standards in on a poster and stick it behind a pole. This was my way of showing how stupid it was to post the standards. I get it checked off and consider to be “full implementation”. In my science classroom I have 3 sets of standards posted in off beat corners because 3 different subjects are taught in there throughout the day.

  3. hannah Says:

    I travel. I only have two classes consecutively in the same room. The rooms I teach in are not “my” rooms.I really struggle to keep those update.
    I am struggling to keep it down to one lesson a day. Some lessons seem short for a whole period. Some lessons seem to long to do in one day, but to meet district expectations I have to make each GANAG fit into a cookie cutter period of time.

  4. Debbie Says:

    After 34 years of teaching and many come and go practices I am faced with the new one. GANAG! We call it gag or gonad. Sure it is useful for guidance for creating good lessons, but being evaluated by cookie cutter lessons is not good for anyone involved. We are being asked to have written GANAG lesson plans this year. I have to be honest and say that it has been at least 20 years since I’ve actually sat down and written out each lesson. Lessons are “GANAG”ED or “PET”ED or “TESSA”ED or “HYS”ED in my brain after this many years of teaching the same subject, at the same level, at the same school. I’m not lazy by any means. This day and age there are so many other responsibilities in the teaching profession to which we spend our valuable time. How about the fact that most classes I teach have 5 or more SPED students, each with a different IEP? GANAG THAT! Along with those kids I have 15 or more Hispanic students with their special needs, and of course then the others who come from homes of alcohol and drug abuse or maybe just abuse in general. Is GANAG going to help me reach those teens? With the EOC there is no time to reach out on a personal or individual level to help students with a multitude of challenges. Most of us chose the teaching profession to be able to help students meet challenges of real life, learn lessons about respect, responsibility, time management, ethical behavior, and failure in order to achieve in the future. In my opinion we have lost sight of the real meaning of “lessons” and the students are loosing out on the opportunity to learn real lessons before it counts. GANAG is only one tool that is being used in the “dumbing down” of our students. Retirement isn’t too far away.

  5. Hannah Says:

    I just went to a district training for 6th grade Reader’s Workshop. People kept asking how to fit the structure they were teaching us into the GANAG structure. We were told, best practice is to NOT put it into the GANAG structure and that they were not going to show us how. They even said that there are some equity issues with the Access section. HOWEVER, we needed to do what our principal tells us. THANKS FOR THE MIXED MESSAGES DISTRICT.

  6. Judi Says:

    Here am I, in my 35th year of teaching secondary English, getting GANAG-ed in 2015. Wish some of our ‘leading teachers’ would read blogs such as this prior to inflicting yet another ‘buzz’ upon us. Seems to me that lots of consultants make lots of money spreading it around.

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