For their 13th and last week of poetry this year, 5th and 6th graders explored their past memories. We discussed happy memories such as birthday parties, embarrassing memories we wish we could forget, sad memories such as the passing of a loved one, or memories that we wish to cherish forever.
Together we listened to a video clip of U.S. Poet Laurate Joy Harjo reading her poem “Remember.” Harjo uses repetition combined with aspects of her Muscogee-Creek heritage to paint beautiful images of things she wants her readers to remember. Remember the sky that you were born under/Know each of the star’s stories/Remember the earth whose skin you are: red earth, yellow earth, white earth, brown earth, we are earth/ Remember you are all people and all people are you. Harjo wants her readers to remember and understand that we are all connected and are a part of the earth, universe, and each other.
Inspired by Joy Harjo’s moving poem, 5th and 6th graders wrote, and recorded class “Remember” poems together, with each student contributing one memory. Then we had an open mic. I brought out my blue mic and speaker and students performed poems they wrote throughout the residency.
I wish my 6th grade poets luck on their journey to the 7th grade and a new school. Please remember the good times we had writing poetry. As for my 5th graders soon to be 6th graders, have a wonderful summer and I’ll see you next year.
Ms. Yassky’s 5th grade
Remember when I clutched that sea ruby, coral eye sea crystal and jewelry.
Remember when I was a baby and choked on something twice
Remember when I walked outside in the snow by myself
Remember when I went to Key Lime Cove and almost drowned.
I remember fourth grade and I was in Ms. Lane’s classroom
Remember your teachers who helped you pass the grade
Remember the people that were nice to me
I want to remember my best friends
Remember Leah, Makayla, and Laniya
Remember the friend who was there for you
Remember all the times you got to eat and drink something
Remember each mistake I made will me better each day
Remember your mom and dad and who love you
Remember all my happy moments, not the bad
Remember when I first played basketball
Remember I tried
Remember when you first opened you eyes and the universe welcomed you and said hello
Remember your friends that been there through thick and thin
Remember my dad and his beloved family
Remember I am me
Remember when God and your mother gave you life as a gift
Remember what you be, never hide
Remember when I was at the beach and at the pool like a floatie
Remember when I was at Toys-R-Us choosing toys to play with.
Remember you are cute and handsome
Remember my classmates and friends
I want to remember when Christmas was good
Remember being in 2nd grade and finding your best friend
I remember when I went to the park with my brother
and we went down the slide together
I remember when I got my dog
I want to remember when I got my first shot in basketball
Remember when you started to learn how to ride a bike
Remember everyone’s unique in their own way
Remember the old days from my childhood
Remember when you had the best birthday
I remember my best present
Remember your friends when you move
Remember you have caring friends like Sage and A’Niyah
When the smile on people’s face
I wish to remember Kyrie
Remember my friends
Remember my cousins
I remember the last time I saw my grandfather
When I first had friends
Remember the real friends and family members
Going to the skating rink
Ms. Henry’s 6th grade
I remember when I ate all the food at Thanksgiving
Remember you are a tough solider
When I got my first bike with my dad
Remember the stars in the night sky
I know it’s hard to forget but remember those memories later those memories will become reality
Remember the first day you hold your baby cousin
Remember the man that taught you how to ride a bike
Remember the books you read and how the knowledge flowed into your head
Remember that you are a young prince that’s growing as a king
Remember when you fell of the monkey bars and broke your arm
Remember your first friend in Kindergarten
Remember when you got your first dog
Remember what you have now and what you didn’t have then
Remember you were born on Friday the 13th but it wasn’t scary it was adorable
Remember when Ms. Self called my dad
Remember meeting friends Ah’lani, Josiah, Siyaar, and Sincere
Where did the Time Go?
I remember my dad teaching me to dive and I got a fish
Ambitions, don’t stray to the wrong path
Remember that I’m a future NBA Star
Remember when you got your first turtle named Rocky
When I used to take your strawberries
Remember being with your grandpa
Remember the first time you met your baby brother
Remember the first time when you figured out that you were going to have siblings annoying you
and roaming around the house
Remember when you go that Captain America full zip hoodie
Remember my best friend Kirby the hamster
Remember you are one of a kind
Remember the people who created you are happy for you
Remember your milestones
Remember that time when I took my first step and when I danced like Saturn’s Rings
Remember that time you caught the last out in a rough inning.
When you could climbed the tallest tree you could find.
Your mother is trying her hardest to see you
Remember that you are the spitting image of your mother
Remember when you won a trophy for basketball.
Remember when you first saw light as a baby.
Remember when I learned to play basketball
Remember winning the game with a home run
*Last line is a late addition and not on audio recording, but still included in poem)