carnival funfair

MTaP Math Education Blog Carnival

[Feature photo above by Elliot Brown via flickr (CC BY 2.0).]

The Math Teachers at Play (MTaP) blog carnival is a monthly collection of tips, tidbits, games, and activities for students and teachers of preschool through pre-college mathematics. We welcome entries from parents, students, teachers, homeschoolers, and just plain folks. If you like to learn new things and play around with ideas, you are sure to find something of interest.

photo by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

We publish MTaP every month, with the exact day of publication left to the host blogger’s discretion:

How to Submit Your Blog Post

If you’ve written a blog post about math, we’d love to have you join us! Posts must be relevant to students or teachers of school-level mathematics (that is, anything from preschool up to first-year calculus). Old posts are welcome, as long as they haven’t been published in past editions of this carnival. To submit an entry, fill out this form:

Don’t procrastinate: The deadline for entries is the Friday before the week the carnival comes out.

Would You Like to Host the Carnival?

We need more volunteers. Classroom teachers, homeschoolers, unschoolers, or anyone who likes to play around with math (even if the only person you “teach” is yourself) — if you would like to take a turn hosting the carnival, please speak up!

The following instructions are specifically for the Math Teachers at Play blog carnival, since that’s the carnival I know best, but the principles should apply to any blog carnival you might want to host.

Step 1: Get Signed Up

2 & 1/2 and already a computer junky!

Image by Wilson (Army Gal) via Flickr

If you want your blog to grow, one of the best ways to draw new readers to your blog is to get involved in an active blog carnival. Some carnivals are more spammy than others, however, so make sure you’ve found a carnival that you want to be associated with. When you discover a carnival that sounds interesting, read the current edition, and then browse several of the back issues.

For the Math Teachers at Play carnival, check the upcoming editions list above. Otherwise, contact the person who maintains the carnival to find out which dates are free. Choose an open date that fits with your schedule. You can leave a comment here or email me directly to let me know your choice.

Step 2: Receive Submissions

Post a “Call for Submissions” request on your blog a couple of weeks before your carnival is due to be published, so your readers can submit entries directly to you. Meanwhile, Google Docs will be collecting all the posts submitted to the MTaP form. Sometime during the weekend before your carnival, I will copy that information and email it to you.

We usually get 5-10 good submissions. A carnival of ten entries is a bit small, and five seems way too skimpy to me, so I almost always supplement with articles pulled from my blog reader or Twitter feed. During the month or two before I’m scheduled to host, I star anything I think carnival readers might enjoy, which gives me more than enough choices to make a good balance of topics.

Step 3: Sort Out the Spam

[Photo by barmala.]

Update: Since we switched to the Google Docs submission form, we have gotten very little spam. We still have to be cautious, but it’s not nearly as bad as it used to be. Please read Dan Meyer’s analysis, Stop Linking To “Top 100 Blogs” Lists. Any submission from a web domain that includes some version of “online degree” is probably spam, and “nanny” blogs are suspect, too.

Do not respond to a spam submission in any way!!! You may find yourself bombarded with spam emails if you let them get your address.

Even if a submission is not spammy, you do NOT have to include it in your carnival post if you don’t want to. The carnival is a guest on your blog, but you are still in charge. Don’t feel obligated to post anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. If you would like a second opinion about an entry, then feel free to email me for advice. I never expect you to follow it if you don’t want to, but I’ll be happy to give my thoughts.

Step 4: Write Your Post

[Photo by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.]

I try to start writing a draft of my blog carnival post long before my deadline. I collect pictures (good advice on finding pictures here) and quotations whenever I find something I like, and enter them into my post ahead of time. If I have the framework in place, then all I have to add at the last minute are the submission links, and the job doesn’t seem overwhelming.

Step 5: Add Something Extra

[Photo by kevindooley.]

The Carnival of Mathematics traditionally begins with trivia about the carnival number. Many hosts have introduced their Math Teachers at Play carnivals with riddles about the carnival number. Sue VanHattum suggested we make that a regular feature, but I’m not very good at riddles — so instead, I added puzzles to my introduction for MTaP carnivals beginning with #20. Feel free to indulge your creativity!

Somewhere within your post, it’s nice to add a link to the current edition of our partner carnival: the Carnival of Mathematics. They in turn should link back to your post — or rather, the next edition of the carnival should do so, if they remember. In this way, we help support each other.

[See also my follow-up post: What Is a Blog Carnival Theme?]

Step 6: Time To Publish

Putting together a blog carnival is a lot of work, but I hope you will enjoy “meeting” new bloggers through their submissions. I love that part of being a host!

When your carnival is finally published, you may want to email all the participating bloggers and encourage them to post a link on their own blogs or social media. I don’t normally do that, since I’m often running out the door on some errand or another, but it’s definitely a good idea. Whether you send out a request for links or not, you will almost certainly get several math bloggers linking to your carnival. Everyone has been very supportive that way.

I think that’s everything you need to know about how to host a blog carnival. But if you have any other questions, please ask.

And thank you for volunteering to host the carnival!


[Photo by Bob Jagendorf.]



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