You’ve heard about iCivics before.

If you haven’t, quick overview. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor help created a very cool civics website with video games, teaching resources, and other standards aligned materials.

And it just got better. They’ve added Drafting Board.

Drafting Board is a free online tool that helps students meet Common Core Standards for English Language Arts in History and the Social Studies. It engages students in a clear, step-by-step process of crafting a polished argumentative essay while providing teachers with tools to assess their students’ progress.

It uses civics-based topics students care about to engage them in the process of crafting a thoughtful and effective essay while meeting Common Core standards including analyzing and synthesizing evidence, comparing and contrasting texts, and developing and supporting claims based on evidence from source materials.

Drafting Board currently offers six civics subject areas including student expression, the role of interest groups, and military intervention, and will eventually offer 17 topics to engage students in argumentation writing.

It’s a pretty cool tool that encourages kids to think, argue, and communicate. You and your kids have six topics to select from ranging from student expression to the electoral college. Each activity asks kids to look at and evaluate evidence, take notes on the issues, argue their position, and communicate their ideas.

I previewed the electoral college issue:

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With your free account, you create a class with this activity attached. Your kids log in and as they work through the activity, you can track progress and provide support. They provide both a Drafting Board overview and a specific teacher’s guide for each issue.

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It’s all pretty slick. And it aligns with Common Core literacy standards and historical thinking best practices.

Have fun!