Sebastian Khairkhahan

7th-grade English Portfolio

My Portfolio Reflection

Portfolio Questions:
1. How would you describe your writing at the beginning of the year and how would you describe it now?  At the beginning of the year I was not used to analyzing literature.  I had to make a huge change, as I was used to writing more persuasively.  To make the change, I had to explain my answer in greater detail.  Now, I can do this with great ease.

2. What do you consider your writing strengths? Explain.  I consider my writing strengths to be my ability to express what I see and feel so that the reader has the same understanding as I.  I can clearly demonstrate what I wish to tell within my work as I can go directly to the point, and incorporate evidence.  This has been a huge step up for me from last year, and really helps when we are analyzing literature in English.

3. What writing skills do you need and/or want to continue to develop next year? Explain.  I want to continue to develop analyzing literature.  Next year, I need to be able to take important or key facts out of an article and turn them into an argument. This skill has only recently been added to my repertoire and I seek to become proficient at it.  By the end of next year, I want to have mastered this form of writing so I'll be ready for High School.

4. What piece of writing from this year best captures your growth as a writer and thinker? Explain why.  The "Walrus and the Carpenter" essay is the work of the year that shows how much I have grown as a writer.  To complete this essay, I had to take key facts out of a whole poem and use them to justify my point of view.  Needless to say, this resulted in many revisions and hard work.  This was the second essay of the year, and really captures my skill of literary analysis. 

5. What piece of writing from this year are you most proud of? Explain why.  I am most proud of the Holocaust letter final draft.  This letter demonstrates my skill at writing a complex follow up story in the view of a survivor; featuring descriptive language, and well written action.  I feel that I have put all my skill into this assignment, and that is why it is the writing assignment that I am most proud of.

Artifact #1

Precaution is key as foes can be friendly. A person should always give thought before coming to a conclusion. If one reacts without thinking, they are opening their mind to manipulation by bad influences. In the poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll, the importance of thinking twice is expressed with ethos and personification.

First, Carroll uses personification to make the poem appeal to children by making it playful. An example of this playful trait is when the Walrus lures all the young Oysters out of the sea. “The elder oyster winked his eye” (7). Personification is when the animals are given human like capabilities. This is important because the personification makes the poem appeal to young audiences and makes it appear rather playful. The Oysters reaction adds a silly aspect and makes it enjoyable to young children. Also, it teaches them to follow the elder Oyster’s lead, and spreads the theme of the poem; always think twice.

Another technique Carroll uses to teach audiences is rhetoric. Lewis Carroll uses ethos to show the audience that even if a stranger is being kind, he/she could only be setting you up. When the Walrus says “Oh oysters come talk to us. A pleasant walk a pleasant talk” (6), he is tricking the oysters to come on to land and leave the sanctum of the ocean. This is a key part to the story because the Walrus uses ethos to achieve his goal, and in real life, other people will try the same method. Carroll teaches people that one cannot trust strangers even if they say they seek something as simple as a pleasant walk or a pleasant talk, because if one leaves safety, than there is nothing that will protect that person.

Carroll weaves ethos and personification into a well written poem that teaches one to think twice. He makes the poem playful with personification, while holding a serious point and uses ethos to keep it. In conclusion, both of these aspects make the poem teach the audience to always think twice, and never react without thinking.-

Artifact #2

-Dear Mort,

I heard all about Kristallnacht, and I really hope you are alright and were not hurt. My family has made it to Russia, but along the way we have had some very close calls. At the train station, the Germans almost caught us, and that would have been catastrophic! My family had just gotten out of the cab, and was walking down the terminal. We soon realized we were being followed, by two soldiers. To give us some privacy so we could figure how to evade our pursuers, we walked into a cafe, then sat at the table furthest away from the window. After a few minutes my sister Claudia came up with a flawless plan. All of us entered into a bathroom, we then proceeded to take off our stars, and wear the hats we had packed. When our crowd had left the bathroom, we released that the soldiers were out of sight, and we were not recognizable..

“FREEZE!” shouted a booming low voice from behind.

As we turned around, two tall blonde soldiers, with a fine build, and piercing blue eyes were standing right infront of us. After they had observed us, one ruefully said,

“Our humble apologies kind sir, but we spotted a family of Jews, and we mistook you for them from behind.”

“As you know,”replied his partner cordially, “This is a Jew free station.”

After that incident, we hastily boarded our train trying to remain under the radar. Our plan was to go to Moscow as that was the capital of Russia, and an area that should be almost completely out of German influence. Following a hard and tiring day of travel, we arrived in the city during one of their frigid and foggy mornings.

We settled in fairly quickly, in fact I already gotten used to the different feel of their schools, and speaking in Russian. My Russian is a bit rusty, but I have made new friends with my classmates, the closest being Yasha Gregorovich. Yasha and I enjoy skiing, and luckily there are some great slopes this time of year. Even better, skiing takes the pain out of my memory, and the adrenaline from the black diamonds removes all the fear in body. In Russia, I feel a certain feeling that I haven’t had in months. I feel like I have a home.

Your loyal friend and ally,

Heinz P. Kechup

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