Natalie H

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, my writing was very disorganized. I didn't put my writing in paragraphs, my points were all over the place, and I didn't use transitions. I had horrible spelling and grammar, and my vocabulary was weak. I think I improved greatly over the year because my writing has become more organized. I now use better grammar and I don't have to look up words in the dictionary for spelling as often. I can analyze pieces of text and write a paragraph of it's meaning.

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

         My writing strengths are my sentence transitions and my ability to get to the point. I improved on this during the course of this year. My paragraphs usually flow because I add transitions like furthermore and however. I think another one of my writing strengths is my ability to get to the point. Sometimes people add a lot of unnecessary information. I try to get straight to what I'm trying to convey.  

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

          I want to build on my vocabulary and my introductions and conclusions. I think my vocabulary is still weak even though I have improved on better word choice. Vocabulary is great for both writing and speaking. I also want to improve on my intro and conclusions. It is important to start and end strong in anything. Sometimes I feel that I spend to much time worrying about my body paragraphs and I don't pay attention to my beginning and ends.

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

        I think that my Rwanda Genocide Newspaper shows my growth as a writer most. I wrote this in my second semester and I worked very hard on it. I used correct grammar and spelling, and I think that my vocabulary was better than usual. Furthermore, I think my paragraphs were very organized and it had a good balance between providing information and being interesting. Lastly, I think this captures my growth as a writer because I summarized the information very well.

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

      I am very proud of my Holocaust letter. I put a lot of effort into it, and I tried to make it very emotional and meaningful. I think that in this letter it was very realistic of how the Holocaust happened. Also, I think the characters felt very real in the letter.

Artifact #1

PALO ALTO, California - Since 1994, the news of the Rwanda genocide has spread. The two major groups, the Hutus and the Tutsis, have had a long history. In the year of 1994, the Hutu extremist government planned to wipe out the targeted group, the Tutsis. In just three months, almost a million victims were killed. The genocide ended when the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) overthrew the Hutus.

During the time of the genocide, the Rwandan population consisted of about 85% Hutus and 14% Tutsis (1% Twa). Though the tight tension had formed through the years. Under Belgian rule, the minority Tutsis werefavored and given advantages. The Belgians then segregated the two groups even further by necessitating them to carry identification cards with their ethnicity on it.

The 1959 Hutu revolution, which the Belgians supported, caused as many as 300,000 Tutsis fled to neighboring countries. When the Belgians granted Rwanda it’s free- dom in 1962, the Tutsis faced vio- lence and discrimination under the Hutu’s rule. The Hutu extremists blamed the Tutsis for severe problems. In the mid- 1960s, it was estimated that almost half the Tutsi population was living outside Rwanda.

A civil war broke out on October 2, 1990, when the Tutsi rebel group invaded Rwanda. Hutu extremists claimed that all Tutsis were supporting the rebels outside the country. While all of this was going on, the Hutu leaders were already planning the attacks to wipe out the Tutsi population, along with moderate Hutu leaders and training militias responsible for small massacres.

The war officially ended when both sides were forced to sign a power sharing agreement. This angered Hutu extremists. Beginning 1993, Hutu political leaders began to import large numbers of machetes and weapons to their supporters. And thus the genocide began.

Artifact #2

March 4, 1945

Alois Petersen:

I am a very good friend of Anke’s. We met at Auschwitz, the camp we were both deported to. I am very glad to hear that you and your eldest daughter are ok and living back in your old house. Fortunately, I am too starting a new life back in Holland. Anke talked fondly of you, and she wanted you to know what happened to her.

On the morning of January 26, 1945, Anke died of Rickets, a disease that comes when there is a lack of vitamin c and calcium in your diet. Later that day, the Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz. It wouldn’t have mattered anyways. Anke’s soul left her body much before she died. Even a couple weeks before the soldiers came in and freed us, the light had already gone out of her eyes. She moved lethargically and often stared out into the distance. One day, Anke stopped eating completely, giving her food to other people. Anke was a good person. She was more than a good person. Anke was a person who would sacrifice herself for someone else she barely knew. She just - lost her reason to live, as so many other people had. I remember a distinct conversation we had.

Anke had called me over to her bed. Her voice was raspy and I could barely hear her.

“Monika,” she whispered, “Monika, I need to tell you something. I need to ask you of a favor.”

I nodded. “Of course.”

“I am going to die soon.”

She let me take that in. The world was spinning and I felt dizzy. It felt like a million years before I managed to choke out an answer.

“How do you know?”

All she said was, “Please. Please, find my family. And give it to them.”

Anke didn’t tell me what to give you.

She just closed her eyes.

Anke was still in bed when the soldiers came in to carry out the women who were too weak to move. She was found holding a letter she was writing to you and your family. I think it was this she wanted me to give to you. It said:

Dear Mama, Papa, Chanka, Zvetla, and Bronka,

When you read this, I will be already gone. I presume the war has ended, too. I hope that you are all well. Please do not grieve too much for my passing. Remember that I will be with you for a million years.

I love you always,


I am so sorry to hear that your wife and two youngest daughters have passed. Many of our friends at camp have too died from starvation. I wish you and your daughter the best for the future.

Take care,


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