Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24, 2011 - Dieting, Great Classroom Moments, and a Cool Quarter Mil!

I’m always happy when Monday is over. Getting past that very first ‘hump’ of the week is always a little bit of a relief for some reason. Any way you cut it, I’ve got a short week anyway…for a few days now they had been predicting more snow for Tuesday night into Wednesday (on some accounts I even heard up to another two feet). So even before the week started I had ‘snow day’ on my mind for Wednesday.

That’s all changed now, as today’s deep freeze (yes, it was COLD out there today!) is supposed to disappear tomorrow, bringing rain instead. So a snow day is unlikely, but that’s okay, because I’ve still got a conference on Friday and I not only get to miss a day of school, but I have an opportunity to do some serious networking for a new job, the newest focus in my quest for big changes.

Diets Stink

I’ve written in the past about how I hate the word “diet” (check it out here) and a visit to my mother’s for dinner last night further solidified my feelings. You see, my mom and my two sisters have been on the ever popular Weight Watchers diet since the New Year, and I had a chance to see it all in action firsthand. My sister made macaroni and meatballs for dinner, a Sunday staple for many an Italian family, and I’m glad I didn’t have to do all of that measuring and counting.

Within moments of sitting down at the table, the measuring cups and notepads were taken out in preparation for the ritual they must go through every time they wish to consume any type of food.

“How many points if I put cheese on my macaroni?” my mom asked my sister.

“I’m not sure, let me check…”

And so went the meal. I was stunned and saddened at how anyone could suffer this way through life and knew deep inside that this diet, like all diets are doomed to eventual failure. How could anyone make this a daily ritual for a lifetime? After dinner, my point was proven as mom was tallying her daily points while my sister was counting pretzels, her dessert.

“Ann, I did alright today, only…”

“Ma,” my sister was angry. “I lost count and now I gotta start all over again.”

The frustration was evident. If only they could see the truth about dieting. Oh boy, this one’s definitely worthy of a YCN article. Stay tuned…

A Cool Quarter Mil

Today I penned my 500th article for Associated Content/Yahoo Contributor Network, which is pretty significant, though I’m not as excited about that milestone as I am for another impending one. You see, within a few days I will have achieved a quarter of a million page views on my articles. That’s 250,000! Though I knew it was coming, it’s approaching a lot faster than I had imagined.

I must have been using really good SEO (for those of you not in the know, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization) on some recent articles because my page views have risen dramatically of late. I remember when I hit 100,000 page views and I wrote an article to commemorate the occasion. A fellow writer who’s a lot more seasoned than me burst my bubble by pointing out that my pieces averaged around 280 page views each, which is not really optimal.

With the recent surge in page views and more consistent, quality writing, I have attained a page view average of almost 500 and I’ll be hitting that quarter million by the end of the month, for sure. I hadn’t projected that to happen until the end of February, so a big HOORAH for me!

Life Lessons in the Classroom

Today was a good day at school, and possibly another opportunity for a YCN piece. Every week, on Mondays, I give my students a question of the week, which they have a few days to think about and answer in their journals. Sometimes it’s hard to think of new questions that are worthy of thought provoking answers and so I often use the people around me for suggestions.

Last weekend, I asked him (I think I might have to give him a moniker soon!) if he could think of something I could ask my students, and he gave me a good one which I took off with and made into an entire week’s worth of lessons. The question I ended up using ended up something like this: “If you could grant a wish to someone, what wish would you grant, who would you grant it to and why?”

On the way to work last Monday, I was thinking of a fellow writer named Maria Roth. Maria has a daughter, Audrey, who’s been fighting leukemia for more than a year now. I’ve come to know Audrey’s story pretty well thanks to Maria’s candid, yet tender articles about her bout with the deadly disease. Well, Maria’s family was recently given a trip to Disney, which Maria proudly shared with her readers. The story got me thinking of the wonderful Make A Wish Foundation and I decided to have my students take a look at some of the stories of the children who’ve been recipients of wishes from the charity.

To make a long story short, the idea behind researching some of these heartrending and uplifting stories was to give my students fodder for their journals and boy did it work! This afternoon, they each shared stories they had been following on the Foundation’s website and read their journal answers to the class. Needless to say there were tears (mostly on my part, sap that I am!) and lots and lots of interest in what they were doing. It was one of those moments that made me very proud of what I do!

Christopher James Grecius, The Make A Wish Foundation's very first wish recipient.

Well I think I’ve said enough for one day! As always, thanks for reading and I look forward to sharing again soon!

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on your upcoming page view milestone! I posted on FB the day I hit 100,000 pvs. Every milestone is worth celebrating! Can't wait to read the articles on dieting and your students. I've had tears well up more than once while reading your stories about them and things they've written. ~Karen