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Analyzing Shakespeare Sonnets with SOAPStone and Performance

Analyzing Shakespeare Sonnets with SOAPStone and Performance

This lesson from the Folger Library has students examine a Shakespearean Sonnet using SOAPStone (Subject, Audience, Occasion, Purpose, Speaker, Tone) and performance.


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Leigh Cooksey
Leigh Cooksey (Teacher (K-12))
10 years ago

I have adapted this plan to introduce my freshmen to Shakespeare. I used Sonnet 75, and I have the students conduct the performance before trying to tackle the SOAPStone. Also, depending on your goals, you may want to skip the SOAPStone graphic organizer. I suggest having students form a circle around the room in order. They enjoy watching the sonnet move around the circle. Students have time to prepare their performance in partners, we have one "rehearsal" in the circle, and then we have a final performance. You also may want to adapt who reads aloud. As written, the lesson as one student reading and one performing. I found that students are less shy about performing if they are doing it with a partner. This year I did the reading so that all students performed. This was an opportunity to model reading a sonnet, and I could ensure that the performance kept going. I allowed students to use available props. My students were comfortable with Shakespeare and excited about Romeo and Juliet after this lesson.

Used in course? Yes