Thursday, May 9, 2019

Classroom Connections with Elizabeth Steinglass

Following last week's interview with Elizabeth Steinglass, today she explains how her collection of imaginative poems for soccer fans can be used in the classroom.


Soccerverse: Poems about Soccer

Elizabeth Steinglass, Author
Edson Ikê, Illustrator

Wordsong (June 4, 2019)
ISBN: 978-1629792491

For grades K-5 and up

Purchase at
Purchase at Barnes & Noble
Purchase via


From the coach who inspires players to fly like the wind, to the shin guard that begs to be donned, to soccer dreams that fill the night, Soccerverse celebrates soccer. Featuring a diverse cast of girls and boys, the poems in this collection cover winning, losing, teamwork, friendships, skills, good sportsmanship, and, most of all, love for the game.


Text copyright © 2019 by Elizabeth Steinglass. Illustrations copyright © 2019 by Edson Ikê.

Read three more poems from Soccerverse HERE.


Elizabeth Steinglass grew up in St. Louis, Missouri where she played soccer, basketball, and softball, read many, many books, and wrote her first poems. Her book Soccerverse: Poems about Soccer includes 22 poems about all aspects of the game. You can also find her poetry in The Poetry of US, edited by J. Patrick Lewis, and The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations, edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband, her three children, and her sleepy cat Scout.

Find out more about Elizabeth Steinglass by clicking HERE to read her spotlight interview.


Why is bringing poetry into the classroom important?

Poems bring facts, ideas, feelings, perspectives, and voices into the classroom in an accessible package. Many poems are short and can be shared in minutes. They can be read to open the day, introduce or enrich a lesson, or smooth a transition. Because there are poems about every possible topic, they can be incorporated into every possible class—art, math, science, music, PE, and morning meeting. Poems have generous white space, making them user-friendly to the 20% of the population that is dyslexic and can be put off or overwhelmed by too much text. For the same reasons, poems can be particularly accessible to second-language learners as well. The language, imagery, creativity, and emotional resonance of poetry invites readers to think, feel, and remember.

What is a simple, practical tip for teachers when it comes to incorporating poetry in the classroom?

When I read poetry to students, I like to offer them a copy, either on paper or projected, so they can see and follow along as I slowly read it aloud, twice, but I also give students the option to close their eyes and picture the poem as I read. I also think it’s lovely to give students the opportunity to bring in and share some of their favorite poems.

How might Soccerverse be incorporated into an educational curriculum?

The poems in Soccerverse use 13 different forms. A note at the end describes the forms and challenges the reader to go back and think about which form or forms each poem uses. The poems can be used to explore specific forms, for example, concrete poetry, mask poems, or poems of address. The book as a whole can be used to discuss form more generally: What is a poetic form? What are some examples? Why do poets use different forms?

Can you suggest a specific classroom exercise related to your book?

My ditty of the month challenge is to write instructions for an inanimate object telling it how to do its job. When I’ve done this with young writers, I’ve chosen something right in front of us—their desks. I always think it’s helpful to have the object or an image of the object at hand. Looking spurs thinking. I then led the students through some brainstorming questions: What does the desk look like? What do we hope our desks will do for us? What do we hope our desks won’t do? After looking, thinking, and talking, I asked students to contribute lines to a poem we wrote together.

Courtesy Elizabeth Steinglass


Website (and blog):
Twitter: @ESteinglass
Instagram: elizabethsteinglass

This week: poems by Alice Nine,
Angelique Pacheco, and Linda Baie.
Have your students write collaborative or individual poems instructing an inanimate object how to do its job. Click HERE for more details about the DMC challenge and to read this month's Spotlight ON interview.

Post your instructional poem(s) on our May 2019 padlet. All contributions will be included in a wrap-up celebration on Friday, May 31st, and one lucky participant will win a personalized copy of Soccerverse: Poems about Soccer (Wordsong, 2019).

That Liz Steinglass sure does keep herself busy! Today she's sharing her first draft of "Instructions for the Field" plus another poem that didn't make it into Soccerverse, AND she's hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup! (Don't miss the original instruction poems posted today by Linda Baie, Linda Mitchell and Kimberly Hutmacher.)


  1. Good Morning Elizabeth and Michelle, it's wonderful to read the Classroom Connection portion of your interview. I especially like the wisdom in, "Poems bring facts, ideas, feelings, perspectives, and voices into the classroom in an accessible package."
    Soccer is a universal language for so many kids who might not speak the same native language. I love how poetry AND soccer can work together like that. Thanks again, and many congratulations on the book. I look forward to introducing it to some of my favorite young people.

  2. Congratulations, Elizabeth! I'm looking forward to reading all of Soccerverse. My thanks to both of you for the great interview and wonderful challenge idea.

  3. I love the classroom connections! Lots of great ideas for teachers. Congratulations, Liz!

  4. This is terrific, Liz (and Michelle). I love the intructions for a desk poem. I can't wait to have the minutes to work on a poem for the TLD challenge. I am going to do it, I promise. I like the idea of showing the poem to the kids AND giving the option of closing your eyes and listening. In my classroom program I did not show the visual poem until we were quite familiar with it. Then when They went to read it, they had more memory traces and for the kids who were still not automatic decoders, they could get aha moments figuring out words. That was joyful. Kids are going to relate to and love your poem and I love your book title. I am very excited for you, Liz.

  5. PS I hope you are working on some new books!

  6. I'll share this with former colleagues, Liz. The book and your ideas will be helpful. I've had students write about their backpacks before, wish I'd thought they would like to give instructions to them. What fun it would be! Thanks, Liz for all the ideas, and for this extra from Liz, Michelle!

  7. I had in my plans to do this Ditty Challenge with my students today, but we had school cancelled due to weather. Even better, now I can share the interview and more specific guidelines for writing their poems. Let's hope the weather behaves on Monday.

  8. Love love love the desk poem. Congratulations on your SoccerVerse. I cannot wait to buy a copy and just sit on a Saturday out by the pool and soak it all in. I also want to thank you for these lessons you have given these past two Fridays. It's been fun spending time with you and Michelle too, of course. :-)

  9. Great tips. All these wonderful classroom connections posts really make me miss being in the classroom. Thanks for the post.

  10. I think that's a very well focused desk, I'll have to pass on these instructions to mine.
    I like your suggestion of having the students "close their eyes and picture the poem." Thanks Liz for these inspirational extras–and Michelle for the post!

  11. Thank you all for reading and commenting and being so supportive. Thank you Michelle for inviting me to visit again today and for your thoughtful questions about connecting poetry to the classroom!

  12. I love all the ways poems can be brought into the classroom. And the more I read about Soccerverse, the more I want to read it all myself! Now off to try this month's challenge.

  13. Liz, so many of my students love writing poems about the sports they do. I know your book is going to be a big hit. I'm looking forward to using it during my residencies!

  14. Thank you for shining a light on Liz and this book. It's going to be sooo popular!