Common Sense


Apps, Games, and Sites for Persuasive and Argumentative Writing

Help students learn the skills they'll need to produce works of high-quality argumentative writing. In the work they produce, students must learn to develop a claim, substantiate it with evidence, acknowledge opposing claims, and utilize relevant, logical reasoning to develop a sound and coherent argument. Beyond academic writing, these are the skills that will give students a solid foundation in the kind of critical thinking necessary for them to be well-informed citizens of a democracy.

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Well-structured lessons encourage deep analysis, thoughtful writing

Bottom line: This is a ready-to-go, research-backed resource that focuses intently on CCSS-aligned and AP-level critical reading and writing skills.


Smart writing platform places focus on feedback and revision

Bottom line: While there's some room for improvement, this tool is rock-solid pedagogically and can be the engine of your classroom's writing process.


Slick ethics game teaches students to make tough decisions

Bottom line: This versatile game that can teach ethics, argumentation, and civics is light on interactivity but will come alive through discussion.

Community in Crisis

Game shows real-world uses for literacy and decision-making skills

Bottom line: A clever, real-world, and civic-minded context to learn and practice ELA skills.

Mars Gen One: Argubot Academy

Hone powerful persuasive skills on a red-planet adventure

Bottom line: A visually appealing, pedagogically sound exploration of what makes a valid argument.

Vital Signs

ELA game set in a medical clinic shows the value of literacy skills

Bottom line: Great ELA lessons that realistically integrate literacy skills into the simulated day-to-day of a medical clinic.

Argument Wars

Courtroom sim covers ethics, the Constitution, and the art of argument

Bottom line: Social Studies and Civics teachers will find no argument with the game's value; it's a fun, free way to dig into major court cases with lots of extension opportunities.

Drafting Board

Students get persuasive skills with delightful civics-based essay tool

Bottom line: It's a fantastically detailed tool that helps kids through every step of persuasive essay writing.


Expansive research tool uniquely melds learning and productivity

Bottom line: While the complex, old-school design isn't ideal, NoodleTools gives students specific assistance where they need it the most -- with citations, paraphrasing, elaboration, and organization.

Room for Debate

Experts examine, dissect, and discuss critical issues

Bottom line: A helpful site for exploring multiple perspectives on key current events and hot topics.

Comprehensive, nonpartisan resource navigates controversial issues

Bottom line: The balanced pro/con format makes this a go-to source for online research on controversial issues.

The Learning Network

Process current events through engaging NYT-style lens

Bottom line: From a trusted news organization with its finger on the pulse of the world, this free resource can be a reliable source of activities and ideas for current event discussions.

The Sports Network 2

Make news and build ELA skills with this cable sports show sim

Bottom line: It's a great blend of important cross-disciplinary critical reading skills and a fun newsroom context that'll show students how learning translates to working life.


Chrome extension helps organize web-based research

Bottom line: For Chrome users and mostly digital classrooms, this is a fairly intuitive tool that'll help students wrangle their research.

Your Commonwealth

Engage with passionate international perspectives from youth

Bottom line: Offers a rich variety of news and opinion stories on global issues, and its young writers will get U.S. students hooked on civic engagement.


Easy-to-use political quiz provides instant results, provokes debate

Bottom line: A great tool to help students determine and compare political views; especially useful during the election cycle.

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