Grade: Senior
Subject: Literature

#1701. Sonnets

Literature, level: Senior
Posted Tue Apr 25 09:42:08 PDT 2000 by Erica Getting (
Indiana University of Pennsylvania,
Materials Required: Sonnet envelopes, handout of sonnet for free-writing
Activity Time: One 40-minute class
Concepts Taught: Understanding the sonnet form, responding to sonnets, writing sonnets

This lesson takes place during one forty minute class.

This lesson introduces students to the sonnet form and contrasts it with the modern poetry that they are used to reading.

Students will label a sonnet "Italian" or "English" and list differences between the two.
Students will manipulate the language of another author's sonnet in order to see the logic behind the author's choices.
Students will write a sonnet.

Sonnet envelopes
Handout with sonnet for free-writing

Minilesson (10 minutes)
Define "sonnet" and describe differences between Italian and English sonnets. Read aloud one sonnet in each category.

Activity (20 minutes)
Divide class into groups of three or four. Give every group a sonnet envelope. This envelope holds fourteen strips of paper, each containing one line of a sonnet. (All groups are given the same fourteen lines.) Tell them whether it is supposed to be an Italian or English sonnet. Paying attention to rhyme scheme, groups must put the lines of the sonnet in a logical order. After ten minutes, each group will read its sonnet to the class. Finally, I will read the sonnet as it was written by the author.

Assessment (10 minutes)
Students will be given a sonnet. They must write whether it is Italian or English and a response of a few sentences. Students receive full credit for a correct answer and an insightful response, and half credit for an incorrect answer and an insightful response.

Students will write the first eight lines of a sonnet. They may choose either an Italian octave or two English quatrains, and they may write on any topic they wish.