Sonnets: Lesson plans for writing and reading them

Exploring the Sonnet
In this technology-integrated lesson, students explore Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 and an Italian sonnet, then write one of their own. This lesson includes a rubric.

Hate to Love Sonnets
In Shakespeare’s "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day," the writer has perfected a comparison of something he loves to another beautiful or enticing object. For this assignment, writers will not only learn the form and meter of a sonnet, but also draw a similar comparison with something they love and/or hate. After reviewing and analyzing the original poem, students will compose their own personal sonnet to imitate, yet not copy, Shakespeare’s idea of bliss or torment. This lesson focuses on word choice and conventions.

How Do I Love Sonnets
Using Elizabeth Barrett Browning's best known sonnet and some from Shakespeare and contemporary poets, students will be inspired to play with the 14-line form to create their own unique sonnets. Discovering the meter and rhyme embedded in a sonnet, students will understand the power and magic that comes from choosing just the right word to make a poetic sentence flow.

How to Write a Sonnet
Explanation of sonnet structure, a model (Shakespeare #14), and some prompts for student sonnets.

>How to Write a Sonnet
This downloadable YouTube video (10:52) explains Shakespearean and Petrarchan sonnet structure, rhyme, rhythm, traditional subject, and the turn/volta. It is designed for students.

Iambic Pentameter
Just for fun, a cartoon about iambic pentameter.

Listening to Poetry: Sounds of the Sonnet
This lesson uses "Jabberwocky" and 2 sound experiments as an introduction to the sonnet.

Living Iambic Pentameter
A video clip of an introduction to iambic pentameter that will work on any grade level.

The Poetics of Hip Hop
Students analyze form in Shakespearean sonnets, then analyze hip hop music to determine common characteristics between the Bard's work and the music of hip hop artists. Students reinforce their understanding of the connections between hip hop and poetry through close analysis of the works of poets Saul Williams and Nikki Giovanni, and through the creation of their own poetry.

Sonnet 43, Lesson One and Lesson Two
In Lesson One students become familiar with Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poem ("How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.") and analyze the text. In Lesson Two students learn its structure.

Writing a Sonnet (for Dummies)
This web page from the Dummies series takes students through the process of writing a sonnet. It uses Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 ("Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?") as a model.

Annual Rhyme Dance