In Our Desks

A Collaborative List Poem

By Mrs. Kliegman's and Mrs. Koukoulas' 3rd Grade Classes

On Friday, April 19th, Mrs. Kliegman's third grade class met with Mrs. Koukoulas' 3rd grade class using Google Hangout. We wrote a
poem together on a Google doc. The name of our poem is In Our Desks. We modeled our poem on Jane Yolen's poem, In My Desk, from the book Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems. Jane Yolen's poem is told in the voice of a child who is upset because recess has been canceled so that students can clean out their desks. The child thinks she has only junk in her desk—and says: “So let them clean it/I don’t care.” The child then lists the pieces of junk--and then realizes that each thing in her desk is a little part of her.


They’ve canceled recess,

time to play.

Instead it’s



Though all we’ve got

is junk

In there.

So let them clean it --

We don’t care

Inside they’ll find

A pair of dirty glasses,

ripped notebooks,

a slice of moldy pizza,

a dirty t-shirt,

agi-normous box,

a found a bird feather

and mold sandwich.

Stinky cheese,

scraps of papers

and a piece of hair.

My Harry Potter wand

and a french horn.

An overdue library book!

Homework that I thought I lost.

Broken pencils with chewed up erasers,

yucky cobwebs,

a stack of peanuts,

1,000 bouncy balls,

a toy fire truck,

a crow’s nest,

a pair of stinky gym socks or two.

Cold pizza,

a skull,

an old solar system project,

Sweet Tart candy wrappers--

too many to write...

A brown banana peel,

a bunch of water bottle caps,

a pocket dictionary

and my clarinet!

A neon spotted cat,

lots of legos,

a small white mouse,

and a paper-mache volcano.

Butter Fingers,

neon glow sticks,

melted pieces of chocolate and

a pink hair extension!

a rotten apple

and a Spiderman action figure.

Chewed up wads of bubblegum,

a crumbled up worksheet

I forgot to take home.

A pair of Uggs.

Creepy spiders and

cookie crumbs.

An old birthday cupcake,

my gym shorts,

Darth Vader,

ABC gum,

my Sponge Bob lunchbox.


each piece

can tell a tale.

It’s not just


that’s old and stale.

I’ll do that cleaning out,

you see

each piece of junks

my history.


School librarians are known to share their ideas and know-how. Special thanks to Shannon Miller from Van Meter Library in Iowa for posting so many creative ideas. The idea for doing this collaboration is Shannon's. In the past, our library has done some collaborative poetry by reciting "A Poem for Two Voices" with other schools, but this was much more fun!