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Pros: The step-by-step process makes persuasive essay writing much less intimidating; clear tools build kids' confidence in argumentative writing.
Cons: Unfortunately, it isn't possible to use your own issues with the site; you'll have to follow one of the pre-loaded lesson plans.
Bottom Line: It's a fantastically detailed tool that helps kids through every step of persuasive essay writing.
Drafting Board was created as a classroom tool, so it's all set up for you to use as a series of lessons, a flipped-classroom resource, or a homework activity. Depending on how much time you'd like to spend on persuasive essays, you can assign kids a chunk each night or have them work on their essays each week. The site would also be a great supplement or introduction to an existing persuasive writing unit.
Editor's Note: Drafting Board is no longer available.
Drafting Board is a website that gives kids practice creating a persuasive essay. A free resource from the family of iCivics sites, it provides a framework that allows kids to slowly but surely prepare a valid argument. Six separate tools introduce kids to concepts; they'll use the site's various tools -- the Issue Analyzer, Claim Creator, Paragraph Constructor, Critic Crusher, Introduction Introducer, and Conclusion Crafter -- to read, review evidence, and make a decision on the provided issue.
There are a handful of issues to choose from; for example, Student Expression follows the controversy surrounding a student's band T-shirt at Hamilton Middle School. Its format is like an online workbook; kids complete a series of activities that they can then reference when writing the actual essay.
Full Disclosure: iCivics and Common Sense Education share a funder; however, that relationship does not impact Common Sense Education's editorial independence and this learning rating.
Kids can learn to gather and analyze supporting evidence for an argument, and ultimately should be able to communicate their own viewpoint persuasively through writing. They'll learn how to use language to convince readers, as well as choose the most appropriate evidence from all kinds of sources (quotes, legislature, and simple conversations) to prove a point.
Drafting Board breaks up the daunting task of writing a persuasive essay and turns it into a less-intimidating series of smaller steps that add up to a successful argument. Drafting Board is an outstanding way to give kids the tools to create a persuasive argument; after completing all the steps, they'll feel confident in their argument and ready to stand up for their side of any argument.