Iris B

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?

At the beginning of the year I was not confident with my writing. There was no structure to my paragraphs and my sentences were choppy. I have learned to structure my paragraphs in an organized fashion and use better grammar. I have become more confidence with my writing.

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

My strengths would be that it is easy for me to express my feelings and opinions. I it is easy for me to write and not think too much.

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

I would like to continue learning how to write well structured paragraphs. I would also like to learn new grammar so I can express myself in different ways.

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

In this essay I felt freer with my writing. There was structure to my paragraphs. I also felt more confident.

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

This was the first essay I have ever whiten. In this essay I began writing more freely and found it easier to capture the feelings and surroundings. I feel it was a big jump for me in the way I write.

Artifact #1

Hero’s Journey Essay

A hero is someone who shows great or brave actions of fine qualities. In The Outsiders the main character, Ponyboy, becomes a hero when he learns that all people have their own story and that you should stop judging people by their class. He decides to share with the world what he has learnt. He learns these things after he goes on a journey that changes his life. This book by S.E. Hinton is a monomyth because the main character follows the path of a Heros Journey.

Ponyboy experiences the Initiation when he awakes in a church alone, and doesn’t remember why he was there. When Ponyboy's memory starts coming back he thinks that “maybe Johnny had been gone a week and [he] had just slept. Maybe [Johnny] had already been [caught] by the [police] [...] Maybe Dally had been killed in a car wreck or something and no one would ever know where [he] was, and I’d just die up here alone and turn into skeleton.” (62) This clarifies that this part of The Initiation is when the hero enters a state of mind where he can not figure anything out. He has stepped into the world of the unknown, which confuses him. This is important because in The Outsiders, Ponyboy enters this state of mind when he awakes in the church alone, at first not knowing where he was but then realizing that he had run away with his friend, Johnny, for murder. Johnny had left to get food before Ponyboy wakes up. He can not put anything straight and keeps on asking himself questions about what might happen and what might of happened. None of his questions can be answered, this scares him because he wants answers.

The Outsiders is a Hero's Journey. Ponyboy follows the three stages of a Hero’s Journey. First he experiences the Separation from The Known, then through The Initiation and finally he Returns to Everyday Life. All people no matter how poor or rich they are have many things in common, which they don't recognize. It separates us because we judge each other by our status.

Artifact #2

October 30, 1942

Dear Eli and Miriam,

How are you? I hope you are doing good, well better than me that is. Life is so horrible here where I now live. I keep thinking “What happened to my life in Copenhagen?” It feels like a faint memory. It’s hard to believe that we had lived in a Polish ghetto for a month after that horrible night my family and I were forced from our home, and nice neighborhood in Copenhagen by the Nazis. I don’t know how the we prisoners on the long train ride here to Auschwitz survived we got no food or water some did die of starvation.

After the women were separated from the men, the Nazis then separated the young and the strong from the old and the weak who were taken away. Then they tattooed a number on our arm for identification. All the women who were young and strong were led away from the men and forced to strip our clothes off in front of the soldiers. I felt awkward, I wasn’t used to being naked in front of so many people. Young girls holding scissors and clippers came around and started cutting off all our hair. Some of the other women started fighting with the girls but gave up with exhaustion. Others just started crying. When they had finished everybody’s head was bald. My own head felt light and bare. Tears started running down my cheeks.

“My hair,” I quietly sobbed. The dark locks lay on the ground in front of me.

The tattoo that they had printed on my arm started to sting. I read the small black numbers out loud “182444.”

Suddenly two Nazis grabbed my arm and forced me, like everybody else, into a freezing cold shower. There were boiling hot showers too. My shower was so cold I couldn’t feel my body and sharp pains ran through my limbs. After being stripped, my head shaved and forced into a freezing cold shower, all the prisoners received the same striped shirt, pants, pajamas, cap and wooden shoes. They were itchy and uncomfortable .

“Why do we have to wear these clothes?” I asked my mother who was standing next to me putting on the striped cap.

“So all the prisoners at Auschwitz look the same.” She answered.

“Mother, you’ll stay with me until the end of the war and when it ends you, Ariella, and I will move back Copenhagen and we’ll find father, right?” I asked her, when we had changed into our uniforms.

“Yes, Tova, no matter what happens I’ll always be with you.” She replied, more like she was trying to convince not just me but herself too. It was sad to see my mother without her long dark curly hair, but her face was still beautiful. Even if her words sounded unconvincing they gave me hope and strength.

When a Nazi’s shouted to the prisoners “Go to your barracks, you filthy mice!” It didn’t bother me as much as it would before.

In the womens barrack I share a level on bunk a bed, which has three levels, with three other girls. It’s squashed and we have hardly any room to lay down. My sister and mother sleep on the bunk next to me. It’s filthy everywhere and the toilets are just a long line of holes in the ground with no privacy at all. I don’t even want to try to explain the smell, it’s terrible!

We begin the day early in the morning. We’re ordered outside by the Nazis in all kinds of weather to begin with the roll call where they count us and recount us to see who's missing and who’s not.

An imitation of coffee or herbal tea is what we get for breakfast in the beginning of a long day of hard work. The factory we work at is a twenty minute walk away, where we make uniforms for the army. If you don’t work hard enough they whip you to death or take you away. At lunch they serve us disgusting watery soup, if you’re lucky a turnip or potato peel is in it.

Before bed we receive a small piece of black bread that I usually hid in my bed while I’m sleeping to eat in the morning. If you're lucky we sometimes get a tiny piece of sausage, or some marmalade or cheese. I’m always so hungry it’s hardly any food we get.

At night I try to dream of happy times even though deep down I am so scared. I try to remember the streets of Copenhagen, and my friends, giving me hope that someday I will be there again.

I must try to sleep now, I’ll write you tomorrow. Goodnight!

Yours sincerely,


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