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What does a sonnet mean?

Teachers' Rating:
  2 ratings

Alberto Sangorski. Songs and Sonnets by William Shakespeare. Manuscript, 1926

June 2009
Robin Spring teaches English at Northgate High School, Walnut Creek, CA

Plays/Scenes Covered
Shakespeare's Sonnets
What's On for Today and Why

Students will read one of shakespeare's sonnets and discuss what it is about. The objective is for the students to engage with the text by visualizing it.

What You Need

Copies of sonnet 55

Demonstration illumination

Copies of 8-10 sonnets, chosen for rich imagery

Sonnet 55 Illumination
What To Do

1. Pass out a copy of sonnet 55 and read it aloud once.

2. Have students to circle words and phrases that suggest an image.

3. Read through the sonnet again and see what pictures came into the students' minds. Accept all answers.

4. Try to complete this visualizing exercise before discussing the meaning of the sonnet as a whole.

5. Discuss the concept of "illumination'; elucidating and revealing the meaning of text through another medium. Have students watch the demonstration illumination  of Sonnet 55.

6. Discuss the images used in the demonstration and compare them to the images the students selected when they read the sonnet.

7. Discuss how images shape meaning, for example, stone/you, war/you, judgment/eyes

8. Have students select another sonnet and circle words or phrases that suggest images.

How Did It Go?

1. Were students able to identify words/phrases that suggested images?

2. Were students able to support their choices of pictures/images that they identified?

3. Were students able to understand how image can shape meaning?

Working on their own, with a different sonnet, were students able to respond successfully to questions 1-3?


If you used this lesson, we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students.

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5 CommentsOldest | Newest

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  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.

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