I started the lesson by showing my students a picture from our local paper. The picture depicts a lacrosse team holding up signs that spelled out "Will you go to prom with me?" We talked about this trend of over the top invitations and the influence that Instagram has had on high school rituals. I told them that there was another way that people in the past used to impress their loves...with sonnets, of course!
[Note: I used this page for both information and the sonnet template. I did not delve into the Petrarchan sonnet, so I just used the Shakespearean template and some of the information.]
My students have written several poems this year, including a narrative poem that had a pretty tight structure. However, this is the first one with which I am insisting that they adhere to the syllable requirements (though I did not do more than just introduce iambic pentameter...I did say they could try it...they were able to resist.)
Together, we talked about all of the people in Twelfth Night who are in love. We put that list on the whiteboard.
Then, I launched into a short lecture about Shakespearean sonnet structure (I had the information on chart paper, too.)
I had the students pick the characters that they wanted to represent in their sonnets. Then, I paired them up with someone else who made the same choice. The pairs are for brainstorming and support, but each student is supposed to write his or her own poem.
I had planned to take them to the computer lab, but they said they weren't ready. They worked amazingly well on their writing! I was very impressed!