Common Sense


Resources for Persuasive and Argumentative Essay Writing

You could make the argument that all writing is persuasive. That's why it's so important for students to understand the building blocks of a well-grounded and well-argued persuasive essay. This list collects some helpful resources for building these argumentative and persuasive writing skills. Each of these tools can help students learn to develop a claim, substantiate it with evidence, acknowledge opposing claims, and utilize relevant, logical reasoning to develop a sound and coherent argument. What's more, these skills pay dividends beyond academic writing. By practicing persuasive writing, students also build a solid foundation in the kind of critical thinking and reading necessary for them to be well-informed citizens.

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Writing A-Z

Abundant, thorough resources help both teachers and students

Bottom line: This full-service program can help teachers easily weave writing into their curriculum.

Common Sense Selection


Structured literacy program inspires deep analysis, thoughtful writing

Bottom line: This is an expertly scaffolded and pedagogically sound resource for developing critical reading and writing skills.

Common Sense Selection


Stellar program scaffolds the writing process with peer review and feedback

Bottom line: This is an intelligently structured tool for teaching writing and review that focuses on process as much as product.


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.

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

Supreme Court sim covers constitutional history, the art of argument

Bottom line: Social studies and civics teachers will find this game valuable for introducing major court cases -- and their influences -- and it includes plenty of extension activities for larger lessons or units.

AllSides for Schools

Civics site offers building blocks for meaningful dialogue

Bottom line: This site meaningfully promotes dialogue rather than argument, and collects a lot of resources you might normally have to curate yourself.


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.

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.

Common Sense Selection

Race to Ratify

Great history game offers cool constitutional spin on persuasion

Bottom line: This super smart game will get students digging into and understanding the federalist and anti-federalist sides of the U.S. Constitution ratification debate.

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.

Common Sense Selection


Superb ELA resource features engaging activities, stellar support

Bottom line: An exceptional, ever-growing resource for helping your students become close readers, careful writers, and critical thinkers.

Common Sense Selection

Kialo Edu

A terrific, troll-free zone for structuring student discussion and debate

Bottom line: A valuable platform for students to learn about social and political issues while practicing digital citizenship and argumentation.

The Learning Network

High-powered news site offers daily resource to process current events

Bottom line: Driven by 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.


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.


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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