photo by Mike Licht,

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.

Submissions are ALWAYS open — 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 through 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:
Math Teachers at Play Blog Carnival – Submissions

Current and Upcoming Carnival Dates

We normally schedule the MTaP carnival for the last full week of each month, with the exact day of publication left to the host blogger’s discretion.

Would You Like to Host the Carnival?

The carnival is a joint effort. We need more volunteers.

Classroom teachers, homeschoolers, college professors, 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!

How to host a blog carnival, in Six Easy Steps…

Step 1: Get Signed Up

Check the upcoming editions list above. If a future month isn’t listed, assume it’s 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

2 & 1/2 and already a computer junky!
by Wilson (Army Gal) via Flickr

Post a “Call for Submissions” request on your blog a week or two before your carnival, so readers can submit entries directly to you. Meanwhile, Google Docs will be collecting posts from the MTaP form.

Sometime during the weekend before your carnival, I will download the Google spreadsheet of submitted posts 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. Fill out the carnival with favorite posts from your blog reader or Twitter feed.

Step 3: Sort Out the Spam

by Barmala via Flickr

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 the problem it used to be.

Keep in mind Dan Meyer’s warning, Stop Linking To “Top 100 Blogs” Lists.

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.

Step 4: Write Your Post

by Mike Licht via Flickr

You decide how much effort you want to put in. Writing the carnival can take a couple of hours for a simple post, or you can spend several days searching out and polishing playful math gems to share.

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.

Make sure you have the right to use any image you post. Either create a graphic yourself, or find something marked “Creative Commons” —and then follow the CC rules and give credit to the artist/photographer.

Step 5: Add Something Extra

by Kevin Dooley via Flickr

We don’t have a fixed pattern for what a blog carnival post should look like.

Our partner carnival, the Carnival of Mathematics, traditionally begins with trivia about the carnival number, and many Math Teachers at Play hosts have followed in their footsteps. Others have introduced their carnivals with riddles or puzzles about the carnival number. (See, for example, MTaP #20.)

If you’re feeling truly creative, you can even try a themed carnival.

Somewhere within your post, it’s nice to add a link to the current edition of 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.

Step 6: Time To Publish

Putting together a blog carnival can be 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 or tweet all the participating bloggers and encourage them to post a link on their own blogs or social media. 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.]

5 thoughts on “MTaP Playful Math Education Blog Carnival

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