Shakespearean Sonnets

|Style, Form, and Rhythm| |Sonnet 18| |Sonnet 29| |Sonnet 55| |Sonnet 116| |Sonnet 130| |Sonnet 146|

Style, Form, and Rhythm

Active Shakespeare
In "SonnetQuiz," add the final word to the heroic couplet. Students are encouraged to keep trying with the promise of a listing in the Hall of Fame.

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

Fun with Sonnets
Students examine the structure of a sonnet, tap out the rhythm of iambic pentameter, and write their own sonnets.

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.

"I am a pirate with a wooden leg": Stomping Iambic Pentameter
Students will learn the basics of iambic pentameter by studying the rhythm of blank verse orally, aurally, visually, and kinesthetically.

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

It's Elementary!: Stomping and Romping with Shakespeare
The first part of this lesson will engage children in a number of activities that explore rhythm and meter. In the second part of the lesson, students will create a series of "living pictures" to illustrate the song. Designed for elementary students and easily adaptable to older ones.

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.

Repeat After Us
Audio files and texts of 15 Shakespearean sonnets. A good site for LD students, ELL students, and for those who read well and might like to record and contribute. Files are in alphabetical order by poet; scroll down.

The Shakespearean Sonnet: An Overview
An overview of the sonnet form, analysis of selected poems.

Shakespeare's Sonnets
This lesson emphasizes paraphrase as a way into the sonnets.

Shakespeare's Sonnets
Text, summary, and critical commentary for each sonnet.

Sonnet XV ("When I consider everything that grows")
In this video Poetry Out Loud state finalist Sarah Solarez recites the sonnet.

Sonnet 18 ("Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?")

PhotoDharma! Sonnet #18
A parody of sonnet 18: "Shall I compare thee to a bale of hay?"

Teaching Sonnets Unit Plan
A collection of 10 lessons that can be used individually or in a smaller cluster as well as in its entirety. Each lesson focuses on a different aspect, including writers like Petrarch, Drayden, Spenser, and modern poets. Students may write and perform sonents. This unit plan comes from the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Understanding Shakespeare — Sonnet 18
In this carefully structured lesson, students develop critical analysis skills by responding to questions about the poem and working with graphic organizers. Requires Adobe Reader for access.

Sonnet 29 ("When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes")

Shakespeare was a Black Woman
With emphasis on Sonnet 29, "this is an introductory lesson for students first encountering a Shakespeare play or sonnet and/or in conjunction with Civil Rights studies." Don't miss the audio clip of Maya Angelou reading the first 4 lines.

Sonnet 55 ("Not marble, nor the gilded monuments of princes")

Sonnet 55 ("Not marble, nor the gilded monuments of princes")
Scroll down to find the audio file of an introduction and actor James Earl Jones reading the poem.

Sonnet 116 ("Let me not to the marriage of true minds")

Poetry Instruction with Shakespeare's Sonnet 116
This site offers several approaches to the sonnet, including paraphrase, hypertext, meter, rhyme, symbolism, and theme.

Sonnet 130 ("My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun")

Sonnet 130 ("My Mistress' Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun")
Background, analysis, and suggestions for responding to the poem.

Sonnet 130 ("My Mistress' Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun")
Actor Alan Rickman reads the poem in this YouTube video (1:26).

Sonnet 130 ("My Mistress' Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun")
In this YouTube video (7:05), a teacher introduces Shakespearean sonnet structure, then reads and discusses the poem.

Sonnet 146 ("Poor Soul, the center of my sinful earth")

Sonnet 146 ("Poor Soul, the center of my sinful earth")
This audio file of the sonnet requires an MP3 player like QuickTime for access.



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