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 very basic. I now feel I am a more experienced writer because of all the different types of writing we have written about this year.
2. What do you consider your writing strengths? Explain.
I think my strengths in writing are being descriptive, and talking to the reader. When I am really confident in what is happening, in whatever I am writing about, I write better with more information, or detail.
3. What writing skills do you need and/or want to continue to develop next year? Explain.
Next year I hope to write more about things i'm interested in. I like when I get to choose my topic to write about. I enjoy doing this because I can have a writing that is different from my classmates and I can't compare myself to them.
4. What piece of writing from this year best captures your growth as a writer and thinker? Explain why.
I think my Hero's Journey essay best captures my growth as a writer because I wrote with lots of detail and explained what I was trying to say. This writing really made me think because I used quotations from the book, "The Outsiders," but I didn't want to copy the writing in the actual text. I enjoyed writing about this book, as a Hero's Journey, because I understood the different stages and really enjoyed the book.
5. What piece of writing from this year are you most proud of? Explain why.
I am most proud of my holocaust writing. I wrote from many entries but this was my favorite, I think this entry really showed myself as a writer. I like this essay because its a type of writing we don't normally do. I think the main reason I enjoyed writing about this topic because I was writing about something that I am really interested in.
The Nazis have come and already killed a large amount of people. I’ve known something was on its way because my mother and father have told us to put six important things together into our new brown bags, which we have each received one of. I grabbed my stuffed animal horse which I received from my great aunt the day I was born. I also grabbed my favorite pair of warm slippers, a pair of silk pajamas, a hairbrush, and a pack of peppermint cookies which I traded with my friend for some bread my mom had made. After my bag was packed I wondered why they had asked us to do this. I now know.
My mom is very sweet and never raises her voice, but today she did. She explained everything to my siblings and me. She said we would be moving to the Lodz ghetto because the Nazi’s were coming after us along with the rest of the Jews. My older brother, Cal, who is very protective of my family and I, had an angry look on his face but my mom said he could not act angry, she also told him he was going to have to stay near my sisters and I and help protect us. She said the same things to my sisters then to me. My younger sisters, Ann and Abby, were confused. They still needed a better explanation. My mother took them into her bedroom sat them down on her bed and told them everything, they both came out of mother’s room with pale and afraid faces. I looked behind them where I saw my mom with her hands on her head, she then slid down the wall on her back and burst into tears. My brother also saw and walked into her bedroom to comfort her. She gave him hug and didn’t let go for a few minutes. I could hear my brother whispering in her ear,
“Don’t cry, don’t cry, the girls cannot see you crying.”
The next morning my mom woke me up while it was still dark, everyone else was already up and ready except my little sisters. My mom had matching outfits laid out next to their beds, with many layers, and their brown bags were all packed up with their belongings stuffed inside. That’s when I realized we were leaving. I walked out to the living room where I saw all of our food packed up. Our medicine cabinets were completely empty, my mother must have packed it all. Then I saw my mother scrambling up the rest of our eggs for breakfast, she gave me a hug and lightly kissed me on my forehead. I then walked into the living room where I saw the rest of my family. They were all dressed with many layers, dusting the counters. My mom told me we were leaving today for a ghetto. She said the ghetto is very crowded, and it is not going to be a nice place we will want to stay, but we will have to deal with it. I thought we would only go to a new home where we would hide and be safe. I was wrong.
After hours on the train we finally arrived at the Lodz Ghetto. All I saw were hundreds of scared, hungry, and skinny people from the ages 8 to 60. I was frightened and wanted to take off and run and never ever stop, but I knew I needed to stay with my family to protect and comfort them. We got to where we would be staying, it was very open and other people were very close to where we were. A large and scary man came to where we would be sleeping and told us more about what our next days will be like.
He said in a low and harsh voice, “Tomorrow a bell will awaken you and you will start your work, you will each be given a cup of hot tea and two pieces of warm black bread. Never complain about anything or your work amount will be doubled, or worse.” We were all scared, but not my brother he had a confident idea in his head that we wouldn’t be here much longer. I was scared my little sisters were going to cry and complain, then be taken away.
After an hour or two it was dark so my mom put us to sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night when I heard something drop, it was a medicine bottle. I saw my mom grabbing all of our medicine bottles and hiding them under her bed. I wondered why she was doing this. She whispered to me,
“Many people are sick with no medications, and we hardly have enough medicine for ourselves, it is very possible for one of us to catch the sickness, so we must save it.”
She also explained to me that I could not tell anyone she was doing this because everyone would either steal it or tell the guards. My mom started to cry when she was telling me this. She knew what she was doing was selfish, but keeping my family safe was all she cared about.
Heroism is when you act as a hero which makes yourself appear as a better person. The book The Outsiders by S.E Hinton is about a greaser named Ponyboy whose life is like the many stages of a Hero’s Journey. This book is a monomyth because the main character’s life is very similar to a Hero’s Journey.
Ponyboy continues to experience The Initiation when his friend Johnny suffers of a terrible burn on his back in the hospital and later dies because of it. Ponyboy is in the hospital with Johnny the second he dies. Johnny’s last words to Ponyboy are, “‘Stay gold Ponyboy, stay gold…’ The pillow seemed to sink in a little, and Johnny died” (148). In the Hero’s Journey, the second part of the Initiation is when the hero faces his worst nightmare, and when one of the best things in his life, goes away, his best friend. In The Outsiders, Johnny tells Pony to “stay gold.” When Johnny says this to Pony, he is trying to tell Pony to stay himself and the smart intelligent person he is. He is reminding Pony that he is a good person who could do a lot with his life. This really touches Ponyboy, but also makes him really sad because Johnny was Ponyboys motivation to help keep him positive. Now that Pony’s best friend is gone he really needs to think about what Johnny’s last words were and to use those as his motive.
In conclusion, because of Ponyboy’s Hero’s Journey type of life he learns many very valuable life lessons. In the book, The Outsiders, Pony experiences low points where he doesn’t stay positive in himself and the way others treat him. Throughout the book Pony gets the gift of learning to stay himself and keep himself a positive person.