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To make connections between Shakespeare's style and modern music
To use figurative language to communiate a theme
To experiment with Shakespeare's language and English sonnet form
To understand how the parts of an English sonnet are organized to create a central message
To understand how tone shift impacts the thematic message in poetry
To create an original English sonnet around a central theme
Common Core Skills
R1-6, 9, 11/ W 1-2/ 4-5 (6), 10-11/ SL 1, 4/ L 1-6
This activity assumes that students have prior knowledge and experience with Shakespearean sonnets. Students will first need to have a basic understanding of English sonnet form and Shakespeare's language. I would recommend this activity at the end of a Shakespearean sonnet unit.
The pop sonnet began as an internet sensation and went on to become a popular book. The author had the idea to "Shakespearify" modern pop songs and morph them into sonnets. The result? A whole new level of depth for (mostly) simple songs with simple themes. Shakespeare would have been proud because this was Shakespeare's process-- to take simple ideas such as love and give them more complexity and sophistication. In this activity, students will explore pop sonnets via the (now famous) pop sonnet blog where it all started. They will then set out to select their very own pop songs to morph into Shakespearean sonnets. Students may choose to do this activity in pairs-- depending upon the level of the class. After crafting their own pop sonnets, students will then answer a series of questions that takes them through explaining and analyzing their original poems. Consider having students publish their pop sonnets online (via individual or class blogs) along with the original song lyrics and their analyses. Another fun and interactive way for students to share their pop sonnets is to have a read aloud in which the class tries to guess the title of the original song that inspired the sonnet.
Crafting a Shakespearean sonnet can be quite tricky due to the rhyme scheme and meter. Consider having students try one or the other, not both. Another option would be to give students an assortment of pop sonnets from the blog and have them analyze one of those in lieu of writing their own sonnets.
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