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Lesson Plan

Discovering Traditional Sonnet Forms

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Discovering Traditional Sonnet Forms

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Jacqueline Podolski

Milwaukee, Wisconsin


National Council of Teachers of English




Traditional Sonnets for Analysis




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  • Arrange for online access to read the traditional sonnets listed above. Otherwise, make copies of the sonnets listed above or identify sonnets in your class texts that students can use for this project.

  • Decide how to distribute the poems to your students. There are enough poems for five groups of students to each analyze three poems. Ideally, assign groups sonnets from a range of time periods (e.g., assigning a group a poem by Shakespeare, Frost, and Shelley rather than only sonnets by Frost or only sonnets by Shakespeare). Remember that the Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem “the sonnet-ballad” is used for the class demonstration, so it does not need to be assigned to a group.

  • Test the Interactive Sonnet Characteristics Chart on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tool and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.

  • (optional) If computer access is limited, make copies of the Sonnet Characteristics Chart for students, in lieu of the interactive version.

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