Meera 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?

I would consider my writing at the beginning of the year to not be as great and interesting as it is right now. From the beginning of the year to now, I have learned a lot about writing in general, and more specifically how to effectively engage the reader with my writing. Also, I have encountered different types of writing that have exposed me to the different styles of writing that one could do. This information has really helped me become a better writer, and has taught me a lot about different components that make up writing as well.

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

I would consider one of my writing strengths to be describing and analyzing a main point with evidence and my own opinions and ideas. Especially if I am really into a topic and know a good chunk about it, I am able to analyze it better and have an easier time getting the reader to understand the main points. Another one of my strengths might be being a perfectionist and working hard until the very end. These were just some of my writing strengths and I hope to gather more to become the strongest writer possible.

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

In general, I want to be able to summarize things better and write with more quality. Also next year, I want to be able to increase my vocabulary list so that I can write with harder and more impressive words. I want to learn new types of sentences and also write more concise but advanced sentences. This I hope will make me better at writing and will entertain my reader at the same time.

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

I think that the best piece of writing this year that captures my growth as a writer and thinker, is probably my Holocaust letter final draft, that we did at the end of the Holocaust unit. I think that it captures my growth as a writer since I used better word choice, descriptive sentences, and mixed my writing with some history. It captures my growth as a thinker because I incorporated my knowledge of the Holocaust and used my reasoning/common sense to describe how life was like for my character. My thoughts were also involved since I put myself in the character's shoes and based my writing on how "she" would have felt like.

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

The piece of writing that I am most proud of this year, is probably my Giver essay. Mostly  I think it's my best since I ended up with a really good score, but also because I worked pretty hard on it and after finishing it, felt good about myself. After looking though it again, I noticed that I used a variety of sentence types and a pretty good choice of words. This may have also been a factor in getting a good score and resulting in my best work.

Artifact #1

Dear Anne,

We have left Soldau, and sat through the long, awful train ride to Ravensbruck, a concentration camp in Germany. Mother had told me that this camp is thankfully not a death camp, and is a large camp for women, located in the German Reich. As I told you earlier, my father is not with us now. I don’t know where he is or what he has been through, but it is definitely worse than where I am.

Once we had reached the camp, my brother was forced to go to a part of the camp where younger boys of his age are held captive.

As he was pushed roughly along, he cried, “Oh mother come back, where am I going?” It was so depressing watching him go like that, for he was the one I always told all my worries to and played with, back at home. My mother, sisters, and I on the other hand, were taken to an office, got our heads shaved, and received smelly, uncomfortable uniforms. I was shocked for I could barely tell who my mother was, since everybody looked the same.

“Mother, where are you?” I had cried, as I searched fearfully among the mass of crowded women.

“Are you lost child? Where is your family?” asked one of the women.

“I...I don’t know, for everyone looks the same to me,” I had responded, my voice quivering with panic.

“That is not good. You must return to them soon, before the officials find you wandering around,” she answered, before turning away quickly as someone called her. Luckily, mother heard my frantic shouts, somehow spotted me, and came briskly towards me. I felt a wave of relief wash over my face.

In Ravensbruck, there were 12 barracks in which the women in the camp were allowed to sleep in, but they were overly crowded. As soon as I saw this miserable place, I knew that I was never going to see my father again, for there was no way to escape. Surrounding the entire camp were high barbed-wire fences, that were patrolled by the German guards. Unfortunately, the camp was horribly kept, for there was only one washroom per barrack with toilets, and the sanitary conditions were very poor. From this point on, my life turned into a mess.

Each morning we were woken up early, with the usual follow up of roll call. Our food rations were very small and the food tasted awful, but I know that I must be grateful, for at least we got to eat. We were sent almost immediately to work, where my sisters and I worked in the fields, and my mother, worked hard in the local munitions factory. We had to walk many kilometers to the work site every day, where we were put endlessly to work, no matter what the weather was like. My experience here was definitely unforgettable, since everything we saw and did was so miserable, unfair, and usually unbearable. Sadly, we would often see women or girls collapse in the work site, because the work was just too much for them and they couldn’t handle it. Even so, everyone had to continue working. Sometimes I would see smoke from far in the distance, but I knew that it was definitely not for a good reason.

Unfortunately, I never had any free time to myself and would have to sneak out of my bed at night to write in my diary. It’s just not fair, how they’ve treated us. This is not how Jews must live. I don’t know what my poor brother is going through, and I don’t want to think about it. I have heard many sounds in the camp including screams of pain, angry shouting, and the clanging noises from the different work sites. These unfamiliar sounds remind me of how far away we are from home and that we will most likely not go back.

My family has been through a lot these past few years, and I do not know what will happen in the coming years. I know I must push my way through. As my father once said, “Stay strong, and no matter what happens keep going.” I know how hard life must be for you, and I hope that you are doing well. My best wishes to you and your family, and I hope to hear from you as soon as possible.



Artifact #2

The world in The Giver by Lois Lowry is a utopia because everything in the community is perfect and everyone feels safe.

Everyone in the community is watchful of each other as well as protective of the community as a whole. During the Naming Ceremony, Jonas remembers that the loss of a child is very rare, and as the author explains, “The community was extraordinarily safe, each citizen watchful and protective of all children” (42). Everyone is protective and everyone acts in the same way. In the novel, it is known as “sameness.” Sameness means that everything is equal and no one is unique. Everybody’s role is defined and decided for them. Since everyone does what they are supposed to do, the community is perfect. It represents a world where there no surprises or changes. Since the early citizens of the community decided to keep horrible things such as war and chaos away from the people, Lowry describes, “But it certainly made them aware of how they needed a Receiver to contain all that pain” (99). To keep everyone safe and happy, the community needs a citizen that can hold on to all the emotions and memories. Even though there are good memories like snow and colors, there are also many terrible ones. All the citizens need to be safe and stay away from the terrible memories in the community. This Receiver can help protect the community so that it can be a perfect and pleasant world. He acts as a barrier between a world of pain, worries, and chaos.

In conclusion, the world in The Giver is a utopia because the community is idealistic and protective. Lowry makes the reader reflect upon the idea that the community seems unnaturally perfect. Her intention for writing this novel is to show how perfect the community can be because of the Receiver, who faces all the problems and knows the truth behind the life experiences.

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