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Sonnet Illumination

Teachers' Rating:
  6 ratings

Shakespeare. The Songs and Sonnets of William Shakespeare. London, 1915

January 2009

Mari O'Meara teaches at Eden Prairie High School in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.


Plays/Scenes Covered

Sonnet 138 was selected as a working example but students may select any sonnet from teacher list.

What's On for Today and Why

Students will create presentations of digital sonnet illuminations along with sonnet research.  Students will be seeing images, colors, hearing sounds of their own choice that will illuminate Shakespeare through a connection with the student’s own life.  Students will present their research to the class to foster an academic and intelligent discussion on the findings and diverse interpretations.


This will take approximately three ninety minute periods to complete.  One additional day will be added for presentations.  This can be done entirely in class with teacher guidance and monitoring.

What You Need
  1. Folger edition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets
  2. Media/library/database access—sign out time in school media center or have students log their research process
  3. Photo Story 3 program or comparable software such as IMovie, Windows Movie Maker
  4. Microphone, computer, etc

Sonnet Illumination Video
What To Do
  1. Provide students with a list of sonnets
  2. Have each student choose a different sonnet to research and  then apply an interpretation to his/her own life
  3. Have students research history, scholarly articles, criticism on his/her particular sonnet
  4. Have students paraphrase sonnet (research)
  5. Have students sum up their sonnets in one sentence (research)
  6. Encourage students to explore how the theme of the sonnet can be applicable to others of their age and stage of life (interpretation)
  7. Ensure that students are familiar with photostory 3 or equivalent software.
  8. Have students read, record, and use personal pictures to create an illuminated sonnet (interpretation)

Students will enhance their illumination experience with music, emphasis on words of sonnet, and sound effect, digital effects, etc. (interpretation)

How Did It Go?

Were students able to make an appropriate and relevant connection between the sonnet and their own life?

Were students engaged in attempting or successful in the use of technology?

Were students able to find and report back to the class the research findings on the sonnet they chose?

Were students interested in classmates’ interpretations- via questions and comments?

Allow students to evaluate projects, both each other’s and own and the project itself.  Provide students with a list of questions as a guide to evaluation:

Did this process enhance your understanding of the sonnet?

Were you able to pinpoint key words/images to help you understand the text? If so, what were these?

Did you find it easier to understand sonnets selected by other students by having them expressed through a technological medium? If so, why do you think this is?


If you used this lesson, we would like to hear how it went and about any adaptations you made to suit the needs of YOUR students.

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1 Comment

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Sheila October 13, 2014 7:50 PM
  Common Core State Standards

There are no standards associated with this Lesson Plan.
How To

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