Critical Thinking Connections and Catfishing


All educators want to create exciting, effective lesson plans, but the clock defeats us sometimes, doesn’t it? Teengagement® subscribers have access to Critical Thinking Connections (CTC) for each Unit of Study, designed to engage students and save teachers time when planning lessons within the unit.

Critical Thinking Connections CatfishingTeengagement® provides a CTC for each Unit of Study as one of the tools in your toolbox of innovative, instructional resources. Let’s take a look at how you might use the CTC for Catfishing.

Video Clips

It’s important to engage teens as soon as you begin a new unit (or new class period) so they are invested in both the subject and skills they’ll be learning. One effective way to do this is with a pertinent video clip related to the topic of study. For example, as you begin Catfishing, you might show a clip provided in the CTC (there are several) about Manti Te’o’s unfortunate experience online deception.

“Manti Te’o Hoax Exposes ‘Catfish’ Internet Scams | Manti Te’o,” YouTube, (3:18)

After viewing the clip, facilitate a discussion about what happened to Te’o and let the students discuss—briefly! Then move on. Your students are likely invested now.

Informational Texts                   

There are also outside informational texts compiled for your use. These can be used in addition to, or in place of, video clips as you proceed through a unit. They give the opportunity for students to read and compare multiple texts on the same topic, building thinkers rather than “word processors.”


Each CTC also offers some suggested reading strategies that fit organically within each Unit of Study. The High Interest Article, “Catfishing: REALing them in,” lends itself to students working on a number of standards* by first using a small group activity called First Person Play.

Groups of five students read the article together—using whatever method you have chosen—and then they each assume the role of one of the five major players in the article: Cassie, Gladys, Nev, Manti Te’o, and Dr. Saedi. Each student creates a first-person narrative of the action covered in the article; then they share that narrative with each other, all while staying in character. Students will more effectively understand the text as they read, reread, and process the text in order to “become” one of the characters.

The Technical Article in Catfishing, “Firewalls,” gives students the opportunity to visually create the content of the article. The CTC offers teachers the suggestion of having students illustrate how our computers, hand-held devices, and personal information online can be protected, using the facts and details from the text. We all have students whose learning style is jumpstarted by illustrating; this is a way of tapping into that strength.

Extension and Differentiation

Finally, each CTC offers additional extensions and differentiated activities. In Catfishing, the title of the High Interest Article is an obvious invitation to explore the world of puns, a fun activity that also teaches language skills.

Each CTC is unique to its corresponding Unit of Study. You can use them as you prepare to teach a unit in order to save time. We would also love to hear YOUR activity ideas and strategies for specific units!

* Standards Correlation for Catfishing:

  • Key ideas and details
  • Analyzing the development of idea, details, and/or themes
  • Analyzing how/why individuals develop and interact over the course of text
  • Integrate/evaluate content presented in diverse formats/medias
  • Writing narratives to develop real or imagined experiences/events
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