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To think that writing a sonnet is unrealistic for Year 8 homework?

(76 Posts)
Orlando Thu 20-Mar-14 17:28:19

I have a degree in English (admittedly from 150 years ago) and my work is centred around writing, but I'd find this pretty much impossible. It has to be romantic, apparently. And done by tomorrow. AIBU to think it's just offputtingly difficult for 12-13 year olds?

MyChemicalGerard Thu 20-Mar-14 17:30:57

Nope not at all. Why not encourage them to be thinking this way instead of discouragingly making out 12-13 year olds are incapable of doing some actual work. Its not like they are asked to memorize the whole works of shakespeare.

Martorana Thu 20-Mar-14 17:31:56

It depends on how much guidance. I f my year 8 was given a sheet with the rhyme scheme and the metre he could have a decent stab at it., or if they'd done a lot of
Class work. Just given the task cold- no chance!

Andro Thu 20-Mar-14 17:33:28

YABVU, I remember being given this for prep when I was the same age - challenging for sure but not unreasonably so by a long way.

IslaValargeone Thu 20-Mar-14 17:33:46

Providing they have been given enough guidance on the rhyming style I wouldn't say it was too difficult.
I think it's an interesting challenge tbh.

Bowlersarm Thu 20-Mar-14 17:33:51

It's no more difficult than writing a story or similar.

Gunznroses Thu 20-Mar-14 17:33:53

Nothing unrealistic about that! I'd have thought they find it quite fun. Lots of teens into rap etc these days (i know its not exactly the same) but just write a romantic poem of fourteen lines, nothing hard about that at all.

NurseyWursey Thu 20-Mar-14 17:34:46


They're not expecting the next Shakespeare

WilsonFrickett Thu 20-Mar-14 17:35:47

Not at all. Really the only rule for a sonnet is it has to be 14 lines and have some sort of a rhyming scheme. It doesn't have to be in iambic pentameter. They're fun to write - it's a good exercise in boiling your ideas down to a certain length.

Orlando Thu 20-Mar-14 17:37:42

I don't think they've done much on it in class, beyond being told the basic structure - they're actually studying Romeo and Juliet. It just seemed to me like a big undertaking for a sort of 'sideline' to the text, but thanks for the alternative perspectives!

HillyHolbrook Thu 20-Mar-14 17:38:11

I did this at school, some did well with it, and others didn't. Like everything, ever.

I didn't think it unreasonable then and don't now. If it's a crap sonnet the kids come out with, they've still written one and had a go. They might find their hidden talent as the next Shakespeare wink

Orlando Thu 20-Mar-14 17:38:41

I think they have been told to use iambic pentameter...

WilsonFrickett Thu 20-Mar-14 17:42:12

Then that is a little bit trickier, but then if they've been doing R + J they will have been talking about ip a lot.

^It's challenging, of that there is no doubt
to bend the words and force a sonnet out.
Though syllables both weak and strong and stressed
are easy to manipulate, I guess.^

WilsonFrickett Thu 20-Mar-14 17:42:35

Italic fail blush

Orlando Thu 20-Mar-14 17:43:40

Are you doing anything for the rest of the evening, WilsonFrickett?smile

WilsonFrickett Thu 20-Mar-14 17:51:44


Just inspiring the next generation of poets, as per usual Orlando. Just another Thursday....

IslaValargeone Thu 20-Mar-14 17:52:04

The path of love winds long twixt joy and pain.
Our hearts combust at romance we have missed.
Would I remarry my dh again?
I might do, but only if I were pissed.

sheriffofnottingham Thu 20-Mar-14 17:52:56

YABU year 8, doesn't have to be a good sonnet. I used to love doing stuff like that at school, much more fun than, here's a sonnet analyse it until your eyes bleed

Innogen Thu 20-Mar-14 17:56:09

Seems completely appropriate.

I think OP is overthinking how good it needs to be. Really, the responses need to be romantic and fit the format, not be Shakespeare quality.

IHeartKingThistle Thu 20-Mar-14 17:56:42

English teacher here. Yep it is hard, much harder than writing a story. I have set it as a task a few times and it was always really interesting though - most can have a good stab at it, lots will be terrible, but there will be a couple of gems, not always from those you might expect. It was a task that seemed to suit Sciency boys for some reason IME!

WilsonFrickett Thu 20-Mar-14 17:56:58

Oooh a MN sonnet...

So am I being U? Quite frankly yes.
Your DD is entitled to address
her needs. And if her pear's not cutted up
it's fine to fling it on the floor, with cup.

Orlando Thu 20-Mar-14 18:00:42

Well could you get round here and inspire while dd writes? grin

Isla, I was all set to dictate yours until the last line put paid to that. smile

Orlando Thu 20-Mar-14 18:06:35

Thanks for all the replies - Innogen, I think you've nailed it - I was prob thinking solely in Shakespearian terms. KingThistle, thanks for your input - that's useful to know. I think that having a bit longer than one night would be good, but I shall now switch off my belligerent face and assume my sonnet-encouraging one instead!

phantomnamechanger Thu 20-Mar-14 18:10:08

I think that's a perfectly fine homework. They aren't actually expecting the same standard as Shakespeare. It's no different to when Yr 3s write limericks, and haikus - ie you teach them the principles, show them lots of examples, and then let them have a try.

phantomnamechanger Thu 20-Mar-14 18:11:27

I love that one about the cutted up pear Wilson!

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