Sonnet Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Use this lesson to teach your students the characteristics of a sonnet and examine the history. Provide students with a few samples, and allow them to take a stab at writing some of their own.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • describe characteristics of sonnets
  • analyze the structure of sonnets
  • explain the historical background of sonnets
  • compare and contrast sonnet types
  • write a sonnet


1 hour


  • copies of Shakespearean (English) sonnets
  • copies of Petrarchan (Italian) sonnets
  • highlighters

Key Vocabulary

  • sonnet
  • Petrarchan sonnet
  • Shakespearean sonnet
  • stanza
  • octave
  • sestet
  • volta
  • William Shakespeare
  • quatrains
  • couplet

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.5

Analyze how a drama's or poem's form or structure (e.g., soliloquy, sonnet) contributes to its meaning

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.7.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama.

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