Q4 Benchmark Portfolio: Roberto Abazoski

Reflective Cover Letter:
I feel my portfolio says that as a 9th grader, my writing level has grown better, and I can improve my past work. When you see my work, I try to get the reader to understand that the way I write is to attempt to write as clearly as possible to get my message across in answering the objective.
I consider my strengths in English are understanding what the project is asking for, and completing it. My weakness is the way I form sentences can confuse the reader on what I’m trying to get across. I still want to work on forming sentences better and also, stop making short sentences.
My experiences in making this portfolio were that I finally got to see how I used to write and watch as I progress through the year. I even forgot about some projects and I would think to myself, “Where did the time go?” The issues I encountered were that my quotes didn’t match my thesis in the quarter 1 benchmark, and some of my journals weren’t done so I had to finish them. I resolved these by changing my thesis so I wouldn’t have to find all new quotes, and I extended my journals revising them, too. I also, would confuse myself with what I’m trying to say so I rewrote those parts.
The piece I am most proud of is my Macbeth Creative comic book. I spent a lot of thought and care into crafting this on Comic Life. I would go to YouTube and watch each individual scene that had the quotes I chose in them, then I took a screenshot of the moment when the character would say it and add it to the comic to show the emotion given off when a character would say the selected quote.

Quarter 1 BM: In this quarter we read the book Macbeth, Our benchmark was to choose either Macbeth or Lady Macbeth, and then use quotes from the story that they or someone else said about them. We had to create a thesis to state how they changed, then use the quotes to show how they transitioned throughout the station.

Thesis Statement

Macbeth’s personality changes throughout the story, he is afraid of using violence for power, but then turns into an impulsive and violent person to withhold his power as king.


In Act 1, Scene 3 of Macbeth, Macbeth got news from Angus and Ross that Macbeth has been promoted to Thane of Cawdor. Since the Wëird Sisters predicted that Macbeth will be king, he is wondering how he will become it. Aside, Macbeth says to himself, “If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me without my stir.” (Act 1, Scene 3, Lines 143-144). This reveals that Macbeth doesn’t know whether to take matters into his own hands or not. Also, Macbeth says it aside because he doesn’t want anyone to know what the Wëird Sisters predicted.

            In Act 1, Scene 7, Lady Macbeth tried to convince Macbeth to kill King Duncan tonight, and he is talking to himself alone on how to do it, but is still unsure if he wants to. Macbeth is talking to himself again, “If it were done when ‘tis done, then ‘twere well it were done quickly. If th’ assassination could trammel up the consequence, and catch with his surcease success, that but this blow might be the be-all and the end-all – here, but this here upon this bank and shoal of time, we’d jump the life to come.”(Act 1, Scene 7, lines 1-7) This reveals that he is strategizing how he is going to kill Duncan. Also, he is having regrets because he wants to be loyal instead of a traitor just like the previous Thane of Cawdor was. He is talking aside because he doesn’t want anyone else hearing the plot he has to kill King Duncan.

            In Act 2, Scene 1, King Duncan is asleep, the guards are drunk, and Macbeth is going to kill Duncan. Then, Macbeth is hallucinating and sees a dagger, but can’t grab it. He leaves it alone, pulls out his dagger and then goes to kill Duncan. Macbeth says, “Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible to feeling as to sight? Or art thou but a dagger of the mind.” This reveals that Macbeth is scared, but he wants to kill Duncan so he can become king and have more power.

            In Act 2, scene 2 of Macbeth,  Macbeth just killed King Duncan, and now he is hearing voices saying that he won’t sleep again because he killed an innocent person while they were sleeping. After Macbeth did the deed, he wasn’t thinking straight and was scared. Macbeth says, “Methought I heard a voice cry “Sleep no more!” Macbeth does murder sleep” – the innocent sleep.” This reveals that Macbeth is feeling guilty that he killed someone while they were sleeping. Macbeth is also conscious that he did something wrong, and is punishing himself mentally.

            In Act 3, scene 2 in Macbeth, Macbeth knows that Banquo has a suspicion towards him for the death of King Duncan. So Macbeth is going to hire murderers to kill Banquo. While Macbeth is talking to the murderers he says, “I’ll call upon you straight. Abide within. It is concluded. Banquo, thy soul’s flight, if it find heaven, must find it out tonight.” (Act 3, Scene 2, Lines 140-143) This reveals that Macbeth would go to the extent of killing his best friends to get power. Also, it reveals that Macbeth will somehow get what he wants when he wants it. This is different than killing Duncan because now he doesn’t want the blood of his own friend on his hands so he gets murderers to eliminate Banquo. This way he can eliminate another possible threat trying to take away his power as king.

            In Act 3, scene 4 in Macbeth, Lady Macbeth asked Macbeth if he was a man. He answered that he was a confident one that even horrifies the devil. Macbeth says,” Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that which might appall the devil.”(Act 3, Scene 4, Lines 60-61) This reveals that Macbeth knows that he is a courageous and scary person. It also means that he controls how he acts, he wasn’t controlled by something else. Macbeth changed on purpose so he wouldn’t feel the guilt when he murders someone.

            In act 4, scene 1 in Macbeth, Macbeth was just visited by the 3 apparitions, the witches’ masters. The first apparition said to fear Macduff. After his encounter with the apparitions Lennox told him that Macduff has fled to England. Now Macbeth is hiring murderers again to murder Macduff’s wife, kids, and everyone else in his castle. Macbeth says,” The castle of Macduff I will surprise, seize upon Fife, give to th’ edge o’ th’ sword his wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls that trace him in his line.”(Act 4, Scene 1, Lines 172-174) This reveals that Macbeth is now killing people in an impulse without thinking because he believes the witches and he wants to make sure he covers all the bases. It even reveals that Macbeth is even more bloodthirsty.

             In act 4, scene 3 in Macbeth, Malcolm is ready to kill Macbeth once and for all with an army backing him up. Malcolm says,” Come, we go to the king. Our power is ready; our lack is nothing but our leave. Macbeth is ripe for shaking, and the pow’rs above.” (Act 4, Scene 3, Lines 236 – 238) This reveals that Malcolm has had enough of Macbeth murdering everybody. Also, Malcolm wants Macbeth to taste his own medicine.

            In act 5, scene 1 in Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is sleepwalking and couldn’t believe how Macbeth could be so evil and bloodthirsty because of all the people he killed. Lady Macbeth says, “Yet who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him?” (Act 5, Scene 1, Lines 37-40). This reveals that Lady Macbeth regrets making Macbeth kill Duncan in the first place because it is somewhat her fault that all these innocent people are being killed.

            In act 5, scene 8 in Macbeth, Macbeth is in the middle of a fight with Macduff. Macbeth would rather fight ‘til the end than surrender to Malcolm, and watch him become king. Macbeth says, “I will not yield to kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet.”(Act 5, Scene 8, Lines 27-30) This reveals that Macbeth doesn’t want to die, but knows that he will because he noticed that everything happened just like the 3 apparitions said he would die, Birnam Wood coming to Dunsinane, fighting someone that wasn’t born from a woman, and to beware Macduff.


            Macbeth should be thought as a loyal person, but people in his life influenced him for the bad now he stayed like that. These quotes supported the thesis because from the first quotes to the tenth, it is obvious that his personality has changed. The first quote says that he is wondering if fate will have him king without him not doing anything, but then in the second quote Lady Macbeth convinces him that he has to kill Duncan to be king. The quotes after the second show how his character doesn’t change back, but only gets worse and becomes bloodthirsty and greedy. Macbeth killed innocent people just to stay in power. Then, Macbeth killed Macduff’s wife and children because he was bloodthirsty. Shakespeare’s message about life could be that people would go to extreme measures to get what they want even if it means losing the important things in life.

Quarter 2 BM:For this quarter’s benchmark, we had to write a memoir vignette. A memoir vignette is capturing a slice of a moment in your life and writing it as vividly as possible. This story has to be connected to the author strongly. 

“The First Time I Was Called A Hero”

            I’ve always dreamt of being a hero for a girl just like in movies. (Opener) What happened last summer was similar to that. It all happened in the suburbs of Allentown, Pennsylvania, where most of my cousins lived. I am the oldest in my generation, so I play with little kids when I visit them. Their names are Nick, Samir, Reshat, and Adrian and they are all boys.

            We all were at Samir’s house playing video games on his Xbox 360. It was really exciting because we were playing around and having fun since we didn’t see each other for weeks. 1:00 in the afternoon came, and we started getting bored. None of us had an idea of what game to play next. We turned it off and just went outside. I noticed my aunt walking into her house. It had been a while since I saw her. Zooming across the grass and my cousins following me, I conversed with her and caught up with new things happening in our lives. We then continued what we were doing. Adrian saw the soccer goals in his humungous backyard and he came up with the idea to play one on four, me on my own team to keep it fair. Reshat was about to get his soccer ball, and that’s when it all started.

            Everyone stopped moving and I just heard “LOOK!” (Dialogue)I looked in their direction to see a huge, tall, black, and husky Pit bull going at about forty miles per hour! It crossed the road and then aggravated Reshat. Possessively he asked “Why is it peeing on my tree?!?” (Dialogue) My uncle saw the dog too and called all of us to get inside. He went inside, too. Samir listened, but not Nick, Reshat, and Adrian. Reshat encouraged Nick and Adrian to chase the dog for no reason. I still find it confusing how my aunt was still there and she was yelling at the three kids to come back and leave the dog alone. Her voice was weak as she was. I noticed that they didn’t listen, and then I yelled so they would hear. At this point, I think they don’t care about what anyone tells them to do. The dog went in the backyard, and out of my sight. My cousins went in that direction racing across the dark green grass. I had no intention of chasing them; I think they were in the middle of a sugar rush … I’m not sure. As I witnessed them trying to chase the dog they got out of my sight. Seconds later, I saw the dog just appear out of thin air chasing them back trying to attack the four boys. My cousins racing their hearts out even more. I blanked out, and had no clue what to do. I could only hear the screaming and my aunt shouting for help. HELP!! HELP!! RUFF RUFF GRRRRR AAAAHHHH!!!! HELP!! HELP!! (Rep for Effect, Dialogue) So many things happened at the same time so soon.

            Reshat and Nick managed to get inside, but Adrian is cornered in-between the two air conditioners mounted to the side of Reshat’s house. Desperately he cried, “ROBERTO HELP ME!” (Dialogue). I had to do something! At that point I risked my life to possibly save his. Never in my life have I ever seen that look of vigilance on anyone’s face until this very moment. Somehow a little voice in my head told me to keep the dog in one place and calm it down temporarily. I held the dog back by its body right above its back legs, just enough to calm the vicious animal from clawing. I told Adrian to run away, but that didn’t do anything. It just made the situation worse. The dog turned its body and took a quick claw at my face then chased after Adrian like he was ball that his owner threw to play “fetch” with. (Simile) He got so scared, and trembled on the grass with fear and surrender. The dog became even more vicious. He started attempting to bite, and I still heard my aunt in the background trying to get help. It finally hit me; the dog had a collar on so I grabbed the dog by its collar. It was perfect. I was able to keep him in one place until my uncle came outside seconds later. He told me to slowly let it go. I started walking in the middle of the street to catch attention and started asking whose dog this was. It all happened so fast. Dogs are not always affectionate as they show up on TV to be and can be very defensive and violent. Also, they shouldn’t be messed with. (Realization) As I asked all the nearby neighbors in sight, I kept hearing the same answer, “Sorry that’s not my dog.” “I don’t know whose dog that is”. (Dialogue) At that point I felt hopeless. I thought if I let the dog go, it would attack me too. Luckily, a neighbor who is a dog owner offered me a leash to tie to the collar on the dog’s neck. My uncle ran towards me and helped tie the vicious beast to a tree nearby.

The neighbors called 911 and it was finally over! I heard Adrian was badly scratched on his face and body. As my whole family came outside, they noticed the situation and finally got the cops and the ambulance to come. The cops were writing out their report while the ambulance truck took Adrian away. Turns out he had several scratches on his face and body and they took him to the ER to make sure he didn’t have any infections or diseases. I had to be there for the police report to make up one of my biggest lies ever to the cops to make it look like it was the dog’s fault when it was clearly my cousin’s for chasing the dog in the first place. They actually bought it because I never lied that good in my whole life. The cops were able to get the owners, but I don’t understand how they didn’t get in any trouble from the damage the dog did to Adrian and not keeping the dog supervised letting it run free. I went inside my other uncle’s house to get the horrible dog smell away and wash my face. I didn’t know what to tell him so I gathered my emotions and told him about what happened in the calmest way I could. He immediately got up and bolted to Nick. (Nick is his son and he wanted to talk to him) Suddenly, my whole family came outside. My family is unusually large in quantity by the way so it was a huge crowd. They all kept asking, “What happened?!?” (Dialogue) It got annoying after awhile because I kept on repeating the story and answering their questions. This changed the whole day for me and everybody else. Out of all of the family members, my aunt was the most thankful because she knew if I wasn’t there, she couldn’t have done anything.  The rest of the day was too long. I also reeked of the dog’s smell that I couldn’t get rid of no matter how hard I tried. I took a shower and changed my clothes but I still smelled that distinct odor. I’m glad Adrian is okay though, he only had minor scratches and the dog didn’t have rabies. This experience was extremely adrenaline pumping and terrifying, but I still wouldn’t mind doing it again. As long as I’m saving a girl. (Closer)

Quarter 3 BM:
In this benchmark, I chose to compare the portrayals of Cyclopes in artwork vs the portrayals of Cyclopes described in the book The Odyssey. I downloaded the artworks from the Internet, and used descriptions from the book, and then compared them.

This quarter, our benchmark is to compare the portrayals of Cyclopes on the Internet vs. how they were described in the book The Odyssey. In Greek mythology, Cyclopes are one-eyed giants. Cyclopes are interpreted and portrayed in so many different ways. You can sight the different ways they are portrayed by searching for images , or reading The Odyssey interpretations of Cyclopes. Although the portrayals of The Cyclops in The Odyssey, and in artwork are similar in appearance, the emotions conveyed in each version are different, which leads to different interpretations of this mythical creature.

In The Odyssey, the Cyclops described itself as fearless and extraordinarily strong. The Cyclops was saying that it is not afraid of the gods’ powers, and that the Cyclopes have more force than Zeus. “ ‘Stranger’, he grumbled back from his brutal heart, ‘you must be a fool, stranger, or come from nowhere, telling me to fear the gods or avoid their wrath! We Cyclops never blink at Zeus or Zeus’ shield of storm and thunder or any blessed god – we’ve got more force by far”. (Book 9, Lines 306-311). The Cyclopes in The Odyssey all use humungous clubs, or as Odysseus described it as huge as his ship. “ Here was the plan that struck my mind as best… the Cyclops’ great club: there it lay by the pens, olivewood, full of sap. He’d lopped it over to brandish once it dried. Looking it over, we judged it big enough to be the mast of a pitch-black ship with her twenty oars, a freighter broad in the beam that plows through miles of sea – so long, so thick it bulked before our eyes.” (Book 9, Lines 356-362) Judging by how massive the Cyclops’ club is, its body is even more monstrous. Also the Cyclopes’ have one eye, it is mentioned in the title of Book 9, “In The One-Eyed Giant’s Cave”. Lastly, in the Odyssey, the Cyclops was always mad when it was talking to Odysseus.

In artwork, the three Cyclopes downloaded from the Internet all are huge, strong, and imposing. In the second interpretation, the Cyclops is holding a large wooden club. In each artwork, each Cyclops has only one eye. Additionally, the emotion in each of their face is either calm and serene or happy. In the second and third artworks, the Cyclopes are interpreted as monsters, while in the first artwork, the Cyclops is portrayed as a man. The artworks are at the end of this document.

In both the artwork and the book, the way the Cyclops was portrayed and interpreted were both similar and different. They were different by their emotions given off, and are similar by their appearance. For example, they are all huge and strong, and all have one eye.  Also, by the similarity with them having a club. Although, they are different by their emotions because in the artworks they appear as calm, serene, and happy. Whereas in the book the emotions the Cyclopes give off to Odysseus are anger and hatred. These examples show that the interpretations are more similar than different.  The only way they are different is by their emotion, the Cyclops in The Odyssey is angry while the Cyclopes in artwork are neutral. What if Cyclopes were actually very different than what people portray them as if they really existed?


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Creative Piece: 

In this project, we had to come up with a creative idea to present our Q1 Benchmark. I chose to do a comic and named it “How Evil People Are Made”.
Click Here

Independent Reading Project: 

This is the first independent reading book of the school year. I read the book The House Of The Scorpion, and wrote a summary along with my opinion on the book.

This work of art I just finished reading is called The House of The Scorpion, written by Nancy Farmer. Nancy Farmer has written 6 other novels, and several picture books and short stories. For this book in particular, Nancy won 12 awards. They include "National Book Award", the "Newbery Honor" and the "Michael L. Printz Award For Excellence In Young Adult Literature".

            The main characters in the book are Matt, El Patrón, Maria, Celia, Tam Lin, The 3 Keepers, and the Lost Boys. Matt is a clone that has El Patrón’s DNA. El Patrón is the original Matteo Alacrán, and also a powerful drug lord. Maria is the younger daughter of Senator Mendoza. Celia is the chief cook and Matt’s caregiver. Tam Lin is a bodyguard for both El Patrón and Matt. The three keepers are named Raúl, Carlos, and Jorge, they take in Lost Boys and put them to work. The lost boys’ names are Chacho, Fidelito, Ton-Ton, and Flaco, their parents were arrested for crossing the border while they were left behind and took in by the Keepers.

In this story, Matt was born by El Patrón’s DNA being put into the womb of a cow and the cow giving birth to it. Celia has raised him as her own until one day when a couple kids enticed him to come and play outside. The door was locked so he broke the window and got out, only to find out that he cut his foot on shards of glass from the window. Moments later, he is in a big house with maids treating him. Everybody knows who he is and then calls him a monster because he is a clone. Rosa, a housekeeper, then let him sleep. The next day, he was put in a shed with hay all over the floor and fed daily, basically jailed.

After a long time, Celia found him and got him out. El Patrón came and met his clone for the first time. El Patrón punished Rosa by turning her into an eejit, a robot with a chip planted in their brain that only allows the robot to do 1 simple task. El Patrón leaves because he can’t stay in that house. To assure that Matt isn’t going to be harmed, El Patrón lets Matt choose one of his bodyguards, and he picks Tam Lin. Tam Lin watches him and teaches him to ride a horse after school with his own eejit as a teacher. As the story goes on, Matt hears bad things about El Patrón, but doesn’t believe it. It was until he found out that there were other clones of El Patrón and he used their body parts to keep El Patrón alive and live the lives that his brothers and sisters never had. Matt’s only option is to escape, but he knew it wouldn’t lead to freedom.

When the day for Matt to die came, the whole story turned by what Celia has done to Matt and sabotaged El Patrón’s plan. El Patrón dies and Tam Lin helps Matt escape by telling him what to do and where to go. Tam Lin even gave him a chest with books, water, and note. As Matt is escaping, the Border Patrol catches him so he explains to them a story, then they take him to the keepers. It is like an orphanage without getting to be adopted, where keepers look after the “orphans” as they feed them and give them work to do. Matt is friends with the other lost boys. There isn’t any hope for any of them because they can’t escape. This changes when Jorge, one of the keepers, starts to beat Ton-Ton, and the rest of the boys join and fight back against Jorge.

This results to Chacho and Matt being dumped in a hole of dead bodies. Chacho got hurt from the bones crushing him. They finally escape by climbing out of the whole. Then Ton-Ton and Fidelito came to them with the shrimp harvester and escaping with it. After a long ride to San Luis, the boys run into Guapo and Consuela. They offered to drive them to the hospital using the hovercar. At the hospital, the sisters then were treating him. As, Matt and Fidelito were walking to see Chacho, they noticed Ton-Ton mouthing “run” because the Keepers were there trying to take Chacho. The keepers saw Fidelito and Matt and they started gripping them up to bring them back to the plankton factory. Everyone was fighting back until Doña Esperanza came and cleared the whole fight up by getting Ton-Ton to tell the whole story why everyone was fighting.

The keepers were arrested because she knew they were trafficking drugs and used that against them. After all this, Doña Esperanza discusses with Matt about what he should do when he will be the new reigning drug lord. Matt is now back to Opium, where he now has to complete the mission Esperanza gave him.

            The type of conflict in this book is person vs society because the antagonists were all against Matt and the orphans for different reasons. One reason is because they escaped from the orphanage, and the second is because Matt was a clone that escaped his death that was supposed to die and give organs to El Patrón.

            My opinion towards this book is very positive and I enjoyed reading it from cover to cover. This book kept me entertained and has a great plot. This book doesn’t have any weaknesses in my opinion because it was such a great story to read and I could almost feel like I was there watching everything in 3rd person POV. Also, there is nothing in this book that I would change.

            Would I recommend this book to other people? Yes, most definitely I would recommend it. As, I stated in the previous paragraph, it is a great plot and it will keep the reader anxious to find out what happens next.

4 Journal Entries:

These are 4 journal entries that I wrote. Mrs. Dunn gave us a question to answer each day and these are the ones I enjoyed writing about the most.

To me, fitting is somewhat important. This is because life isn’t fun without friends. I don’t do much to fit in because the kind of friends I have, all have different personalities and we get along like we’re family even though we only knew each other for a couple of months.

            I have never done anything as a part of a crowd and felt bad about it after. This is because I never get the chance to do stuff like that. The people I hang out with don’t attempt to or do anything in life they would regret. Although, if I did have a chance to participate in such activities, I would’ve thought twice about it to know what I was getting into.


            If I were to have a fresh start in one part of my life, I would start high school over again. I chose this specific option because I don’t want people to look at me as just that quiet guy. I would’ve done everything right. With a fresh start, I would take my high school experience and stay on top of work to relax and socialize without thinking a project is due the next day and I didn’t start it yet. Socially, in that period I could’ve made more friends, knew more people in the school, and actually “have” fun in high school just like everyone says it is.


            So winter break just ended and I’m back in school. Just imagine the joy on my face coming back to school when I just spent half of my break doing schoolwork. Yes, the break felt really short. I didn’t get to do all the things I wanted to, but at least I got most of my work done.

            Beside all the cons of my break, there were many pros to it, too. For Christmas, I got a drum set that I wanted since I was a little kid, some clothes, money, and a warm and cozy Snuggie! The rest of the break I spent at my cousin’s house sleeping over. New Years was WAY better though! The whole family got together and had a party. For the first time in a long time, I actually had fun at a family party!


            What makes someone a good storyteller is by no matter what the story is, the person can make the story realistic. Personally, I like when someone makes a story funny when its not meant to be funny. A good storyteller can bring the story to life just enough to visualize what the scene would look like to be experiencing it instead of just hearing about it.

Now, with a good storyteller, you need a good story. A good story is when there is meaning to the story. By meaning, I mean to tell a moral, to use to make a joke out of, to tell a good past time, etc. 

creative project