In 2001, Corbett Harrison (at right) became the Northern Nevada Writing Project's first Technology Liaison, a position created by the National Writing Project to incorporate more technology into classrooms where writing is being taught. The first prompt that went on-line remains one of most popular features at WritingFix: The Random Daily Prompt Generator.
Corbett then created the first two dozen interactive writing prompts housed at WritingFix, a domain he had personally purchased in 1999 when he was completing his Master's Degree in Educational Technology. Most lessons first posted were based on favorite writing lessons he observed in fellow teacher's classrooms. In 2002, he offered the first of over a dozen inservice classes for Nevada teachers. Participants learned how to navigate the newly launched WritingFix site, and how to design instruction around the interactive prompts. As part of each inservice class, participants were required to propose an idea for a new interactive prompt. Many of these proposals became new online prompts. Between 2002 and 2003, the site grew from two dozen on-line prompts to 130 on-line prompts.
In those first three years, WritingFix focused on building prompts that fit three big categories: Right-Brained Prompts, Left-Brained Prompts, and Poetic Prompts. From Corbett: "My favorite three prompts from those early years are still The Serendipitous Plot Generator, The Emotional Recipe Write, and The Oxymoron Maker. Those always got the older students writing!"
Primary elementary teachers requested prompts specifically geared for K-3rd grade students, so in 2004, WritingFix launched its WritingFix for Kids Prompt Collection. Since its creation, this single page remains one of the top-three most used pages at the WritingFix website, and we began building on-line resources to complement our under-development Writing Across the Curriculum Guide.
In 2005, we focused new growth on three big topics that Northern Nevada teachers were asking for: 1) Writing Traits; 2) Ways to Use Writing to Teach Reading; and 3) Lessons inspired by Picture Books. Dena Harrison--Corbett's wife, middle school teacher, and 6-Trait Trainer in Northern Nevada--was instrumental in gathering new ideas for trait-based prompts from the teachers attending her semi-annual inservice courses; from these efforts, the 6-Trait Page was launched. Kristi Pettengill finished the Reading in the Content Areas Guide. And a $25,000 grant received with the help of the Washoe Education Foundation put our Picture Book Lessons Page on the fast-track to completion. Both these pages remain highly popular at the website
Inspired by the picture book lessons immediate popularity, in 2006 we began building a collection of Poetry Lessons. We also began creating our page of resources dedicated to a "hot topic" in Nevada: Constructed Response.
In 2007, a second $25,000 grant (Thank-you again, Washoe Education Foundation!) launched a new collection of lesson ideas at WritingFix: the Chapter Book Lessons Page. Simultaneously, our collection of Literature Inspired Writing Lessons emerged.
In 2008, we revisited our 2004 Writing Across the Curriculum initiative, and Carol Gebhardt coordinated the creation of the Comparison & Contrast Resource Page as well as HistoryFix, a collection of resources hosted by teacher Denise Boswell. And Teacher Rob Stone took over as "page host" for the iPod-inspired Writing Prompt Collection.
In 2009, we continued increasing our Writing Across the Curriculum resources by launching ScienceFix (under the guidance of Yvette Deighton) and NumberFix (under the guidance of Holly Young). We also began a new program that encouraged teachers from everywhere to participate: The Mentor Text of the Year Network. Our Traits Homepage for Primary Writers was finished in 2009 too.
In 2010, we began focusing on genre-focused resources, and our Narrative Writing Page and our Persuasive Writing Page really began taking shape. We also began designing a new resource page that became a really popular inservice based on Revision.
For 2011, we planned to develop an Expository/Informative Writing Homepage as well as further developing pages on the other steps of the writing process (other than revision). Unfortunately, our local source of grant monies disappeared, and that project was put on hold with no way to pay the teachers who we'd asked to contribute.
Between 2011 and 2015, WritingFix stayed online thanks to Corbett and wife, Dena, who pocketed the expenses personally. In 2015, they decided to host the first-ever WritingFix "Pledge Drive," and generous users donated enough money to keep the site online for several years to come, and Corbett & Dena discovered that users were willing to help pocket the bills for this amazing online resource.