Shakespearean Sonnet Writing and Analysis of Sonnet 18 Poetry Activities

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The Shakespearean sonnet is an excellent addition to any poetry unit, and this resource will teach students both sonnet analysis and how to write a sonnet!

First, use the presentation and poetry annotation and analysis assignments to help students analyze Sonnet 18, one of Shakespeare's most famous poems. Then teach students sonnet writing with the included assignments, handouts, and graphic organizers. With instruction on iambic pentameter, rhyme scheme, and what to include in each of the quatrains and final couplet, students will be absolutely prepared to start writing their poems.

This is a perfect Valentine's Day poetry lesson for high school, but it is not holiday specific and can definitely be used at any time of the year!


Included in This Shakespearean Sonnet Resource:

➡️ A 30-slide PowerPoint presentation that will guide you through all elements of the lesson. The slideshow includes:

  • What is a Shakespearean sonnet
  • History of sonnets
  • Shakespearean Sonnet structure (rhyme scheme, iambic pentameter)
  • Sonnet content (quatrains and couplet)
  • Sonnet 18 analysis and annotation
  • Sonnet writing

➡️ Sonnet 18 Poetry Annotation Assignment: Students will write a modern summary of Sonnet 18 and record their understanding as they read. A detailed teacher answer key is also provided. 

➡️ Sonnet 18 Analysis Questions: This assignment has students answer five analysis questions about Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 that require them to go back to the poem for text evidence to support their responses. A detailed teacher answer key is provided.

➡️ How to Write a Sonnet Student Guide: This informational handout includes detailed information on how to write a sonnet, including information on sonnet structure (rhyme scheme, iambic pentameter) and sonnet content (quatrains and couplet).

➡️ Writing a Sonnet Graphic Organizer: After students know how to write a Shakespearean sonnet, have them use this graphic organizer to write their own. Included are reminders about what is included in each of the sections, line numbers, and sonnet rhyme scheme.

➡️ Sonnet Writing Checklist: After students have completed their sonnet, have them check their work with this Shakespearean sonnet writing checklist. This will allow students to review their sonnet to make sure it meets all the structural requirements.


Topics and skills addressed in this Shakespearean sonnet resource:

This Shakespearean sonnet resource allows students to use a variety of ELA and poetry-specific skills and standards. Below you will find a list of some of the skills this resource addresses:

  • Poetry analysis skills (Sonnet 18)
  • Determining author's purpose
  • Examining literary devices
  • Interpreting poetic theme
  • Examining and using poetic form (rhyme scheme, stanzas, iambic pentameter)
  • Writing poetry using specific structures and content

What teachers are saying about this Shakespearean sonnet resource:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The handouts were very helpful and my students were able to write a sonnet with ease. The handout for Sonnet 18 also helped my students decipher the sonnet's meaning. Thanks!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Fab handouts with great visuals!!! Thank you for a simple and straightforward explanation of a challenging concept.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This was a great resource for teaching sonnets and helping students be creative as well as building a likeness for poetry.



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