Tuesday, 29 March 2016

I Read... Pop Sonnets

I can't tell  you how many times I have heard a teacher say that their favourite way to teach poetry is through music.  It's the easiest way to hook kids in.  Once a student knows that they can bring their favourite songs in as texts to be studied, they are automatically engaged.  One of my most successful activities was using "Firework" by Katy Perry as a vehicle to teach figurative language.

When I stumbled across the Pop Sonnets website, I was an instant fan.  Top pop songs are turned into Shakespearean sonnets.  When Pop Sonnets came out with a book, Pop Sonnets: Shakespearean Spins on Your Favorite Songs, I was first in line to pick it up.

Now I use this as a model to introduce the format and content of Shakespearean sonnets.  Students study the rules of Shakespearean sonnets alongside not only Shakespeare's work, but also with samples from Pop Sonnets.  Once students understand the structure and the purpose of the sonnets, I ask them to complete an activity.  Students must A) rewrite one of their favourite songs into a "Pop Sonnet" (students know that I am tech savvy enough to see if they have copied their sonnet, so these are always original) and B) students must find one of Shakespeare's sonnets to compare and contrast their piece to.  By doing this, students not only show that they fully understand the form, but they are also demonstrating that they can make connections between Shakespearean text and modern texts.

Food for Thought... how do you use music and poetry together in your classroom?

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