Vivian F

7th-Grade English Portfolio

My Portfolio Reflection

1. How would you describe your writing at the beginning of the year and how would you describe it now?

I think my writing in the beginning of the year was just okay, it wasn't very thought-through or to the point. My sentences lengths didn't vary, and my vocabulary was very vanilla. My writing at this point of the year is very descriptive and creative, I've learned different ways to capture a reader's attention throughout an essay.

2. What do you consider your writing strengths? Explain.

I think my writing strengths now are being able to vividly describe a scenery, or a short period of time. I can write for a very long time about something that could seem dull. Instead of just "the swing in the park was fun" you could say, "I heard the squeak and cranks from the chains as I swung higher and closer to the sky, my heart thumped faster every time I pumped my legs, the gentle breeze blew my hair across my face, the birds chirped softly as they flew across the ocean blue sky." I like to paint images in readers' minds, it makes the story or essay much more interesting to read.

3. What writing skills do you need and/or want to continue to develop next year? Explain.

I want to work on my quoting, I want to be able to find the most effective quote for the essay. I want to be able to also learn how to quote different types of writing; speeches, books, songs, and other peoples' writing. When I develop these skills next year, i'll be able to quote and correctly site the sources on which I got these quotes to make my writing piece more believable.

4. What piece of writing from this year best captures your growth as a writer and thinker? Explain why.

My Walrus and Carpenter writing was the piece that best captures my growth as a writer and a thinker. The original poem by Lewis Carroll tells the story with animals of why not to trust strangers. The message was directed to children and I had to dig deeper to understand what Carroll was really saying.
5. What piece of writing from this year are you most proud of? Explain why.

I am most proud of my Holocaust Letter #5. The letter really shows how much detail I can go into for a short situation in the first few paragraphs. I like how I made the essay very dramatic and emotional, I think that is what will make a reader remember the piece most. I am also very proud of myself for being able to put quotes into the story, and being able to make the story come alive.

Artifact #1

Nothing is how it seems, trusting strangers is never a good idea. Lewis Carroll uses what seems like a childish poem to talk about a serious matter of trusting strangers. In the “Walrus and the Carpenter,” he emphasizes the theme of deception by using pathos and personification.

Firstly, Carroll uses personification so that readers can relate to the story. When Carroll is describing the oysters he gives them human traits: “Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,/ their shoes were clean and neat--” (50-51). The oysters are given human traits so that readers can easily relate to the poem. Oysters do not really have coats, faces or shoes, but humans do. Readers will also most likely absorb the message in this poem, compared to an essay about why not to trust strangers. Since the poem is meant for kids and adding personification makes the poem funnier and enjoyable.

Carroll also uses pathos to make the children understand that strangers can easily cheat people and put on an act to change people’s choices. When Carroll has the Walrus pretend to be sympathetic for the oysters, but in reality he is getting ready to eat them: “ ‘I weep for you,’ the Walrus said: /‘I deeply sympathize.’ With sobs and tears he sorted out/ those of largest size,” (102-106). Pathos is expressed, when the Walrus is crying for the oysters, so it makes the readers feel bad for the oysters and sort of forgive the Walrus. The next sentence says that the Walrus is sorting the oysters out to eat, which makes the reader notice that the Walrus is sneaky. The Walrus is trying to give them a sense of security, by making the oysters feel like the Walrus feels bad for them, when he actually doesn’t. The fact that the oysters are tricked emphasizes the theme that people should not trust strangers.

In conclusion, the poem is emphasized by pathos and personification. Carroll uses these tools so that readers can relate the poem to real life, and understand that strangers can be deceptive.

Artifact #2

Letter #5

Dear Nathan,

I woke up in the middle of the night, to a foggy humid room that smelled of sweat and dirt. Guards came stomping towards our area. My heart was pounding so loud I’m sure my sister could hear it. Everytime guards come they take a few people with them and never come back. The guards were yelling at each other and pointed towards my family.

My Mama, barely awake, shuddered at the sight of the flashlights. She was so skinny you could see her ribs, she has not smiled in a long time. Since our heads were shaved, she can’t enjoy brushing Renee’s hair, her priceless treasure. She whimpered and hugged Pa for help.

“Get up, there are guards coming!”, I whispered into Pa’s ear.

Mama pushed him a bit in fear. Pa didn’t get up. Renee started crying, and all the families close to us, tried to wake Papa up. He didn’t flinch, he was pale in the face. He was dead.

The guards continued to stomp closer. When they reached our resting area, they pulled Mama up, and slapped her, yelled at her in German and rushed her away. Her eyes were wide with fear, then she mouthed “je t’aime” which is I love you in French. My eyes watered, and I squeezed Renee close. I lost track of time, I just stared into the distance for a while, I stared into the dimness, and lightbulbs that flickered, I felt hopeless.

My Pa laid silently close to us. I touched his hand one last time, and the guards kicked him away. His hands thrusted against the hard concrete.Renee looked away from me, Pa, and the rest of the people. She closed her eyes and pressed her slim face against the cold wall. I think she lost hope in herself and me in that moment.

There was a nun that “adopted” us while we were still in the camp, she told us stories, and tried to cheer us up, she acted parental. She kept her bare head, always covered with the caps that were given to all the Jewish prisoners when we entered the camp. She had a soft sweet voice that made all my goosebumps go away.

“This isn’t the end, there is still hope,” the nun would say. “The Americans will come.”

Renee still was not talking to me, which made me feel even worse about myself. I don’t know what to do to make Renee trust me, or at the very least talk to me. I know we are going to die anyways, but I hope that Renee and I will die friends.

Sincerely,

Yvonne

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