In the autumn of 2005 I launched the ESL Writing Wizard and the following spring I added the ability for teachers and parents to ‘publish’ the worksheets they made. While they have the option to make their worksheets public, many of them have. Today, I’m proud to announce that the site has reached a landmark figure of 5,000 published worksheets.
I started the ESL Writing Wizard when I was working on the curriculum for an international kindergarten. A big part of the curriuculum was teaching the alphabet, phonics, reading and eventually writing. That’s where the need for this kind of website came in. Daily writing practice was essential in the kindy, but it was a huge chore for the teachers to make handwriting worksheets by hand. There were other similar free websites that could generate practice sheets, but none offered the flexibility that I thought the teachers needed.
Creating the site was a much bigger project than I had anticipated. I had to get my hands dirty doing some behind the scenes Perl programming and it was the first time I tied a website to a database. Following feedback from the people who used the Writing Wizard in its early days, I eventually implemented the two most popular handwriting styles taught in the U.S, Zaner-Bloser and D’Nealian. Also, Susan from internet4classrooms helped me iron out some bugs and spread the word…
We are on our way to a training session for preschool teachers and would love to show your site to them. Is there anyway it could be fixed by Monday? I do not know if I will have email access there, as we are training in Bermuda and a lot of the hotels there are not made for business but for pleasure.
Now, The ESL Writing Wizard attracts a thousand visitors a day from all over the world.
From its origins as a tool to help out some hardworking teachers at an international kindergarten, the ESL Writing Wizard has grown into the largest website of its kind, helping children across the globe to improve their handwriting skills, from the Ivory Coast to Iceland, from Oman to Jamaica, and from Japan to the U.S.A.
Happy 5000th, and many more.