Learning to Annotate Sonnets - A Complete Unit for Middle and High School
Annotating Sonnets is a Common Core Standards Unit for all students grades 6-12, created to address close reading, annotating and then, WRITING ABOUT what one has found! This activity has long been practiced at the college level because it encourages nuanced and flexible thought, critical thinking and a holistic approach to tackling difficult text and hopefully all kinds of real-life issues once students move on after graduation. In preparation of this college practice, close reading and the process of text annotation is fast becoming essential in middle and high school.

We are happy to bring you this an all-inclusive starter pack that will make close reading and annotating easier, as well as fun and interesting.

This The Seven-day Unit has been carefully devised for teachers to do SEVERAL things, with the least amount of personal work:

1. Introduce annotation.

2. Have students understand and discuss a less-than ideal, or “Developing” version of an annotation in the hopes that they will recognize all the layers that exist and that CAN be addressed. This will encourage more effort and thoughtfulness in their own future annotations.

3. Provide the teacher a STRONG annotation to model for students.

4. Provide opportunities for students to practice, allowing them to annotate, first in pairs or in groups, and finally ON THEIR OWN, so that they can WRITE ABOUT THEIR FINDINGS as a closing activity.


Students learn through modelling, and then by doing. This COMPLETE UNIT comes fully equipped with:

- An OVERVIEW describing what annotation is, what it entails, why it is important, what its ultimate GOAL is, and some of the types of annotations one can make.

- An Advice page for students

- 6-7-day Lesson Plan with corresponding Common Core Standards

- Sonnet 18 (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?), with both Developing and Strong Annotated Samples to serve as Discussion and Model, respectively.

- Sonnet 130 (My Mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun) for use in paired or group activity, as students apply their knowledge. (Complete with Activity Worksheets and Strong Annotated Sample for Instructor to share with students afterward in class discussion!)

- Closing, Mastery Activity – Individual Annotation and writing about Sonnet 29 (When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes). Complete with Strong annotation sample for teacher plus writing organizers for students so they are prepared to write.
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Created: Nov 10, 2016

Updated: Feb 22, 2018

Lesson Plan

pdf, 3 MB

Annotating-Sonnets

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