Ashlyn C.

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?

My writing at the beginning of the year was decent, I had an English tutor and had worked a lot on improving my writing, but I still had weak spots. By the end of the year my writing is much better. I write much more descriptively, I know how to correctly punctuate quotes, my spelling is much better, I have an improved word choice, and many other things.
2. What do you consider your writing strengths? Explain.

I think one of my strengths in writing is my ideas. I always think of things I could say before I write them. I like to think of other ways to write them and choose the best one.  I always work on developing my ideas too. I think that's a strength because ideas are a key to writing.

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

I would like to continue to work on my word choice, I like it now, but I think it could be much better. I also think I need to work on my spelling because it can be pretty bad. I would not do so well without spell check.
4. What piece of writing from this year best captures your growth as a writer and thinker? Explain why.

My Hero's Journey essay is my writing that best captures my growth. For this writing, I really had to analyze and think and I think I did it well. I also had to use interesting punctuation, for example, quotes. I think that showed growth because first I had to find a quote that applied to what I was trying to say, and then I had to add it to my document correctly. I couldn't have done it last year and I'm proud I could this year.

5. What piece of writing from this year are you most proud of? Explain why.

I'm very proud of my Holocaust letter #5. I'm proud of all my letters, but this was my best. It required a lot of thinking and research. I had to find the facts and then integrate them into my letter. I had to write as if it was happening to me and I think that was the most difficult part, but I managed to do it, and I'm proud.

Artifact #1

Dear Ulrich,

I’m still on the train to the camp. It looks like it’s slowing down, though. I hope you’re doing well, or as well as you can be in your current situation. I’ve been watching out the window, and the scenery looks way better than the ghetto. If the conditions aren’t terrible, I wouldn’t mind staying here for a while.

They finally opened the doors, and the first thing my sister did was wrinkle her nose and say “What’s that smell?”

Not that I blame her, it did smell terrible. Not any worse than the train, though. She had probably been expecting it to smell like roses. Instead, it smelled like something had died. That wasn’t a good sign.

We got loaded out of the train by very big and intimidating-looking Nazi guards. They were yelling things in German that I didn’t understand. I understood the meaning though; they were telling us to get out of the train and using very cruel sounding words.

We came to the front of a manor. It looked very nice and clean, definitely cleaner than the ghettos. I could tell many of the other people were confused. Why would they bring Jews to a nice place?

On the steps, there were even more intimidating people, but I think these were physicians. They were wearing white coats. When all the Jews from the train had gotten to the front of the lawn, they began to talk. These men spoke Polish, but with a German accent.

They said, “You will be brought to Germany as workers. You will be brought there in

trucks. You will not argue.”

This news really confused me. There were many, many women and children among us (even though the men had rejoined us) and I have heard very few stories of women being used in forced labor, and none of children.

We were then led into the house. They told us we had to be cleansed and we had to undress. I saw someone try to fight them and he got shot. I saw someone else getting beaten by the physicians. It terrified me. I wouldn’t try to fight, but what if I did something wrong and didn’t realize it? What would happen to me?

They took our clothes so that they could be disinfected. The man who took them said we were going to be cleansed, then we would get our clothes back and be loaded onto trucks.

I am very nervous for forced labor. I’ve heard the conditions are terrible. These soldiers shoot without warning and have no regrets. I have no idea what will happen when we are locked under their supervision.

The officers are making me leave now to go get “cleansed”.

Sincerely,

Lucy

Artifact#2

Hero’s Journey Essay

A lot can change over a short period of time. Ponyboy is a fourteen-year-old boy who is the main character in The Outsiders. Over the course of the story, he learns what it feels like to be away from home, to lose close friends, and even to lose someone he has always thought of as a villain.

Ponyboy experiences the second part of The Initiation when Johnny and Dally both die. After Johnny dies, Dally runs away, but Pony, even though he is really sad, does not. After Pony leaves the hospital, he thinks, “Dally is tougher than I am. Why can I take it when Dally can’t? And then I knew. Johnny was the only thing that Dally had loved. And now Johnny was dead”(152). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of The Initiation is when the hero experiences a low point where he or she must do battle with his or her greatest internal or external fear. His or her fear must die to make way for enlightenment and independence. Finally, the hero must have a dramatic change in the way they view life and learns to become “one” with his or her new self. In The Outsiders, Pony experiences a lot of grief when Johnny dies, but seeing Dally crack is what made it worse. His low point is seeing not only a good friend die, but also realizing that even though Dally does not show emotions, he still has them, and Dally is filled with grief. Despite this, Pony finds his way home. Along the way, he wonders how he can take it when Dally can not and he realizes that it is because Johnny has been the only thing Dally has ever loved. Pony finally realizes why Dally has not been able to cope with Johnny’s death while Pony has. This matters because it shows how much Pony has learned since the beginning of the book and proves that he had to battle a big fear of his and came from it a changed person with new knowledge.

In conclusion, Pony goes through all the steps of the Hero’s Journey throughout the course of the book, making The Outsiders a monomyth. A lot changes in Pony’s life and views over the course of the book. He realizes that things are not always as they seem, learns how to cope with loss, and his eyes open to real-world problems. S.E. Hinton wants us to take a lot of messages from her story, but one of them is that things are rough all over. She wants us to realize that just because someone’s life looks fantastic from the outside, does not mean it is.

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