More than a Thimbleful of learning

The Mozilla Thimble project is an innovative web application with a split screen interface to help people learn HTML and CSS. Of the many Thimble projects available the 6 Word Memoir caught my attention (HT Chad Sansing/@chadsansing). This post describes how I used this in class with some first year multi-media students. The task ticked the three boxes of reading skills, web design skills/lexis and a bit of imagination.

First I projected the title – 6 Word Memoir and the questions:

What is going on in YOUR life right now?
What has happened in your life that you’d like to express?
What is your hope or aspiration?
How do you see life?

I told the class that they will see a video of some teenagers who had answered the above questions in 6 words, and asked them note down any ones they liked (play video up to 2:05):

After time for reactions to video, I showed them a gapped text from the Mozilla Thimble 6 Word Memoir Task, a paragraph is shown below (click six word gap fill to get full file, odt format):

/*The following _______ make the background look like argyle. There is no image, it’s all CSS! Check out for many more CSS patterns.*/

/*The container class makes the box blue and rounds the corners. Try giving it a different color by ______ the background-color property*/

/*This style _____ the text in the class “sponsor”, which appears outside of the blue box*/

/*_____ styling for links is blue and underlined. This style changes the blue to the National Writing Project’s purple*/

/*Below are the example styles for making beautiful CSS text. Play around with the styles and change your “madlib” _____ to have different ______. If you search the web for “cool CSS text effects” you’ll find lots more examples of great text effects!*/


After students finish the gapfill I sent them to the Mozilla Thimble 6 Word Memoir site and instructed them to complete their own memoir.

For some in the class the video was too fast so you may need to replay it depending on class level. They enjoyed the class though some felt a bit puzzled at just having to write just 6 words. Next time I would focus on getting them to really think about their words, I was too eager to get them onto the Thimble task.

Six examples of 6 word memoirs:

Thanks for reading, do check out a related post using Mozilla Popcorn Maker and do let me know if you have used any of the Mozilla web projects in class.


Kevin Stein/‏@kevchanwow has a great post on using 6 word memoir with a nice idea to grammaticalise the 6 words, will try that when I next do this lesson.