This afternoon I received an email in which I was asked how to write a hyperlink without relying on the visual editor in Word, Google Docs, or your favorite blogging platform. While the visual editing tools will usually do everything you need, at some point you might want to beyond the limitations of WYSIWYG. It's then that you'll want know how to write and edit HTML yourself. These are three resources that you can use to teach yourself HTML. The instructions in these resources are clear enough that middle school students can use them on their own too.
A Beginner's Guide to HTML & CSS is a nice resource developed by Shay Howe whose resume reveals that he works on the user interface for Groupon among other projects. There are currently ten text-based lessons for beginners. Once you've mastered the beginner lessons you can try your hand at the advanced lessons.
Codecademy is a place where anyone can learn how to write code. Codecademy offers lessons in basic HTML and CSS. Codecademy's lessons in basic HTML start with the very basics of explaining what HTML is, what it does, and how to write the basics. There are seven progressively more difficult lessons that students can work through on their own.
Thimble is a free Mozilla product designed to help users learn how to write HTML and CSS. Thimble features a split screen on which you can write code and see how it works at the same time. On the left side of the screen you write your code and on the right side of the screen you instantly see what that code renders. The latest version of Thimble gives you the option to start from scratch or to modify sample projects. The sample projects include directions for writing code. If you write the code correctly, you will know right away. Likewise, if you don't write the code correctly, you will know right away. Some of the sample projects you can work with include webpages, games, and avatars.
w3Schools has long been my go-to place for quick directions when working in HTML. If I get stuck while working on a project, a quick visit to w3Schools usually reveals the help I need to get past a stumbling block. If you're brand new to writing HTML start with the introductory sections of w3Schools to learn the basics.
YouTube is another of my go-to places for tutorials on writing HTML and many other things. Whether you want an introduction to writing HTML or you just need a quick tutorial to get you past one little obstacle in your code, there's probably a video for you. Here's one very popular video for beginners.