Common Sense

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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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Quandary

Slick but dialogue heavy ethics game teaches students to make tough decisions

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

Citizen Science

Comical narrative game shows intersection of ecology and social issues

Bottom line: A polished introduction to the interaction between science and politics that's a bit linear but gets students gathering and using evidence.

ThinkCERCA

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.

Writable

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.

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.

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.

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.

ProCon.org

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: This free resource can be a reliable source of activities and ideas for current event discussions from a trusted news organization with its finger on the pulse of the world.

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.

Weava

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.

iSideWith

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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