How To Start a Math Teacher Blog
["Sophisticated Blogger" by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.]
Blogging is more than just writing. It involves reading other people’s blogs and commenting, comparing thoughts about mathematics and ideas for teaching it, even getting involved in debates like the multiplication is or isn’t repeated addition kerfluffle. In a way, the blogging community acts like the Chinese “teaching research groups” mentioned in Liping Ma’s book, Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics.
What a coincidence! I wrote that paragraph last week for Math Mama’s book, and then this weekend I opened my backlogged Bloglines to discover a series of posts from some of my favorite math bloggers offering excellent advice on how to start a blog.
If you are a classroom teacher, homeschooler, or independent math learner who would like to get into blogging, check out these posts. And if you’re an experienced hand, please add your favorite blogging tips in the Comments section below.
The Fairy Blogmother Gets Things Started
Just a few of her tips from Love, Your Fairy Blogmother:
- Start reading. Set up Google Reader, subscribe to every blog you can find that’s like the one you want to start…
- Tell a story. Give it a beginning, middle, and end. Include an illustrative anecdote…
- Be generous. This community is a gift culture – sharing is how reputations are built and respect is earned. If you have worked hard on a successful lesson, it’s worth writing up. Share your presentation files, handouts, dynamic geometry sketches…
And don’t miss her follow-up post: Do Not Be Discouraged.
Sam Turns It into a Meme
Tips from Yet again, following f(t)’s lead:
- Choose WordPress… The themes are sleeker (in my opinion), there are more control options, and most importantly, you can easily type equations ().
- Write like nobody’s watching… If you blog for yourself, it won’t be a chore… Make your blog less about being your blog and more about whatever you want to say, and let it grow organically into whatever it turns into.
- Watch what you write… you are making this public. So the best rule of thumb: don’t write anything you wouldn’t want your kids, your administration, or a potential employer to see… I don’t write when I’m angry. I sometimes write when I’m disappointed — but mainly with myself.
Elissa Adds Her Insight
Advice from Gr8 Blogging: 5 Tips:
- A clever name is important. But stressing about it is not. A good strategy is to try to think of your name or nickname or hobby in connection with what you are going to blog about…
- Light backgrounds with dark letters. An all black background with red writing looks super edgy, we know, and yes we all agree, but hard to read. Which defeats the point.
- Clutter free. Keep things simple and basic. Yes, you can have your blogroll, a picture or two, links, labels, etc. But keep things orderly and not too much. We want to read your writing, not be overwhelmed by billboardmania and flashing glitter graphics…
Other Bloggers Chime In
Why to stop worrying about your blogging numbers
My experience is just like Jason’s: my highest ever number of hits came from an absolutely nothing post, merely a link to a short-term online contest, that for some crazy reason is still drawing traffic. Meanwhile, some of my favorite posts languish in obscurity…
Starting a math blog (notes from Kate and Sam and Jason and ???)
From one of my original Hall of Fame bloggers — Jonathan’s “half-math blog” is still one of my favorites.
Good Bloggers On Good Blogging
Dan offers encouragement for those who feel they “have nothing original to contribute.”
Developing Yourself Is Part Of Being A Teacher
Riley realizes, “Oh my god, I’ve actually pushed myself to try something new because of my blog! This is great!”
What Can I Add?
And if you are a math blogger, I recommend getting involved in the math carnivals!
Read and enjoy the current editions:
Pick some of your favorites posts and submit them to next month’s carnivals. (Please DON’T send the same post to more than one of them.) Here are the submission forms:
And finally, volunteer to host one of the carnivals. We’re always looking for new hosts, and it’s a great way to draw readers to your blog.