Teaching How to Read, Write, and Participate on the Web

My Six-Word Learning Story

Made by Mozilla Learning Networks and the National Writing Project.

Learners will remix HTML code to change the words and image on a website, learning about composing for the web, remix, and search.

45 minutes

  • Preparation

    Do the activity on your own to become familiar with it. Make sure your technology works as expected across a few test machines.

    You may also wish to set up an account on teach.mozilla.org that you can share with your learners. This will save time later when they are ready to publish their remixes.

    Review this definition of the word "Remix", so that you can help your learners (and colleagues!) understand what it means to remix a make.

    Post the URL, or Web address, of today's make somewhere highly visible in your room. You may want to post it as a shortened link using a service like bit.ly.

  • 10

    Introduction and Storyboarding

    Welcome your learners and explain that in this activity we're going to tell six-word stories about our learning so far today. We'll use the Web to reflect on our learning in writing, keeping in mind questions like these:

    • What makes for powerful learning?
    • What are some of the most powerful learning experiences you've had? Why did they work so well for you?
    • How can Web technologies and Open practices add to or amplify the reach of experiences like those?

    Hand out paper, Post-Its, or templates for storyboarding. One side of the template is for drafting a six-word story and the other is for drawing or describing an image to go with the story.

    Ask learners to complete each side of the organizer so that they have a six-word story about today's learning and a quick sketch or written description of a picture that they want to use with their story.

  • 5

    Introduction to HTML

    Ask participants to raise their hands if they know what HTML is. Working with any responses, explain that

    • HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language and is the standard language for web pages.
    • HTML tags - which show up between pointy brackets < > - tell your web browser how to translate the code into the website that Internet users will see. For instance, HTML tags can tell your browser when to turn text into a link, or how big to make the words appear on the page.
    • An open tag, like p for paragraph tells the webpage where an element or part of the page begins, while a closed tag, like /p, tells the webpage where that part of the page stops.

    On your projector, go to today's activity in Thimble, Mozilla's online code editor. Click on "Remix" in the upper right-hand corner of the page to see its code. Show participants the side of the screen with HTML in the file called index.html. Ask participants if any of them can identify a tag.

  • 20

    Remix the make

    Post the link to today's activity and ask learners to go to that website.

    Invite them to hit the 'Remix' button.

    After learners hit 'Remix,' they will go into the Thimble interface. They will see HTML code on the left and a live-view of the webpage made from that codee on the right. They can click on the "Tutorial" pane above the live-view on the right to find step-by-step instructions for remixing the webpage.

    You can also do a 'think-aloud' and remix the page yourself on the computer connected to your projector. Learners who might like more support than the tutorial offers - or learners who learn best by listening instead of reading - might appreciate that level of support from you.

    Learners will

    1. Change the text of the story.
    2. Change the background images of the webpage.

    After about 15 minutes, once everyone has had a chance to remix the page, invite your learners to hit the 'Publish' button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Thimble will give them a URL, or Web address, to visit and share with table mates, facilitators, and friends.

  • 10

    Share and Reflect

    Encourage participants to pass share their six-word stories around the table so they can read one another's remixes. After a few minutes, gather the group's attention back for a brief reflective conversation using questions like these

    • How is telling a six-word story similar to or different from telling a longer one?
    • How do media like images or sound files add to a story?
    • How did changing part of the code change part of your story?
    • What was it like to start with someone else's story to remix? How was it different from beginning a story on your own?
    • What was it like to hit 'publish' and share your story online?