Q4_Benchmark_Portfolio_Aaron VanBuren



This portfolio is going to show how I started off and will end as an English 1 student. At the being of the year I was still a 8th grader turning into a 9th grader now I’m a 9th grader turning into a 10th grader. Over this year I have grown in area’s in literature that Ms. Dunn and Ms. Finlay have helped me with. Viewers will get the understanding of how my work over this year has come to many different conclusions with different Benchmarks. One strength that I have is coming up with great idea’s to work on. One weakness I is trying to complete the project to the point of perfection in my mind but on a grading system of exceeding expectations.  If I had the chance to go back and re-do a project it would be the Macbeth Benchmark. The experience with making this portfolio was great because I had a chance to see how I use to write and how I might still might write now. Looking back at work I did in English this year is funny because of silly mistakes like wrong words and misspelling by one letter. The project I’m most proud of is the Macbeth creative project because I was creative was my dancing to say what the characters of Macbeth was saying through dance movements.



For the Q1_Benchmark analysis a character from the story of Macbeth and give quotes that explain your thesis of the character.

Macbeth Benchmark

Thesis Statement – Macbeth at the beginning was a brave, loyal strong warrior but by the end of the story he was a bloodthirsty oppressor.


            In Act 1 scene 2, King Duncan is with the other thanes and his kinsmen talking about how Macbeth has done a great effort.  The great effort was that Macbeth reported after killing the traitor from his kingdom and that his death was cruel.  King Duncan says, “What bloody man is that? He can report, as seemeth by his plight, of the revolt the newest state” (Act 1, Scene 2, lines 1-3).  This quote says that he was a brave and strong

warrior because he killed the traitor.


            In Act 1 scene 2, Macbeth is just getting back from the battle and is explaining how he has exterminated the traitor.  Macbeth says, “Which smoked with bloody execution, liked valor’s minion carved out his passage till he faced the slave; which ne’er shook hands nor bade farewell to him till he unseamed him from the nave to th’chaps and fixed his head upon our battlements” (Act 1, Scene 2, lines 18-22).  This quote also shows how violent he can be but in addition this quote says that he is a warrior as well.


            In Act 1 scene 7, Macbeth is explaining how confused about how he is feeling towards the thoughts about murdering and or being a traitor to King Duncan.  Aside, Macbeth says, “First, as I am his kinsmen and his subject, strong both against the deed; then, as his host, who should against his murderer shut the door, not bear the knife myself” (Act 1, Scene 7, lines 1-28).  In this quote Macbeth fell into a blind darkness of murder before he fell into temptation his loyalty to King Duncan was showing.


            In Act 2 scene 2, Macbeth is back from killing King Duncan.  He’s feeling remorse because he can’t clean his hands of the blood.  Macbeth says, “Will all great Neptune’s ocean washes this blood clean from my hands?” (Act 2, Scene 2, lines 63-65). This is where Macbeth the bloodthirsty oppressor first comes to part but here Macbeth is a remorseful kinsmen and is also freaking out because he felt as if he was an unloyal thane

to King Duncan.


            In Act 2 scene 3, Donalbain and his brother just found out that his father was killed, so him and his brother both decided to leave to stay alive and until the murderer is founded.  Donalbain says “To Ireland I.  Our separated fortune shall keep us both the safer” (Act 2, Scene 3, lines 136-137).  This is important because it shows how everybody is scared of Macbeth because he is so violent that they don’t even know that he killed King Duncan.  Now he can use his power against everybody and use fear as a defense.


            In Act 3 scene 1, Macbeth ability to use fear is call convincing and telling them what they know but in a way to trick them to get them to kill Banquo, which they are the two murderers.  Macbeth says “Both of you know Banquo was your enemy” and “So is he mine, and in such bloody distance that every minute of his being thrusts against my near’st of life; (Act 3, Scene 1, line 114-118).  This is important because Macbeth is showing how he can be a great ruler in his own mind.  Such as he believes that killing is the right way to go to keep power.


            In Act 3 scene 4, Macbeth is talking with the other Lords around the table talk about how Banquo isn’t there.  They are talking and have the time of their life until the ghost of Banquo comes in.  Macbeth says “Banquo, whom we miss.  Would he were here! Enter Ghost of Banquo(Act 3, Scene 4, lines 91-92).  This quote indicates that Macbeth killed Banquo for selfish reasons and that he lost his mind when Banquo entered in the room as a ghost.


            In Act 4 scene 2, the messenger is coming to warn lady Macduff because Macbeth has sent people to kill them.  He says leave and never comes back.  The Messenger says, “I doubt some danger does approach you nearly.  If you will take a homely man’s advice, be not found here” (Act 4, Scene 2, lines 67-69).  This quote says that Macbeth is something less than a warrior because a warrior never hurts the family of the man your looking for.


            In Act 5 scene 5, Macbeth hears screams of women and then he ask Seyton to see what it was and it was that Lady Mac is dead.  Macbeth feels remorse but he has to prepare for battle but he can’t think about her because of all the evil things that he has done even he knows he is going to die in this battle.  Macbeth says, “She should have died hereafter: There would have been a time for such a word” (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 17- 18), “Blow wind, come wrack, At least we’ll die with harness on our back” (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 51-52).  This quote says that Macbeth plan has backfired on him and he thinks this has stressed out his wife.  Also he says that we will die but with his own control.


            In Act 5 scene 8, Macbeth is about to go into battle and is about to die.  He knows he has nothing to live for so he is crazed and is thinking about his dead wife.  Macbeth says, “Why should I play the Roman fool and die on mine own sword?” (Act 5, Scene 8,lines 1-2) and “Hail, King of Scotland!” (Act 5, Scene 8, line 58).  These two quotes say that Macbeth has lost the fight to Macduff and that now Malcolm is king because Macbeth is no longer around.  This can prove that being an evil leader can get you nowhere but death.


Conclusion – After researching in the story of Macbeth, strong feelings have supported my thesis statement.  The paragraphs should explain why these quotes support my thesis statement. “Macbeth at the beginning was a brave, strong warrior, which he was also loyal but by the end of the story he was a bloodthirsty oppressor but this way of life does get you anywhere”.  As you read though the 10 quotes you will see the support of the thesis in all ways little to big problems and that this way of life doesn’t get you anywhere.


For our Q2_Benchmark we had to choose an event that was amazing and or horrible about your and write about it.

The Day A Life Was Almost Taken

            Have you ever seen life pass before your eyes?  One typical Wednesday started off wonderfully.  I had to go to school and plus I was amazed because it was the last day for Thanksgiving break.  That day went on and then my mom came and picked my sister and I up from school.  Although we would always drive on Lincoln Drive, something was different; it either was the car in front of us or the car behind us.

            Three days earlier it was my sister’s birthday we didn’t do anything big because Black Friday was coming up and we would take her shopping.  I believe it was my sister’s 9th or 10th birthday and she got about four to five birthday cakes.  One yellow cake with blue, one pink cake with white, one black cake with purple, and one rainbow cake.  I was sitting there thinking back to my miniature dull cake. My mom was pregnant at the time and I was just being me playing football and basketball.  The next two days went on as they always did.

            After the clocked hit 3:04, then we all knew that it was time to go home and get ready to Eat, Eat, Eat and get Fat.  But for me it was time to split up Thanksgiving with my mother and my father.  I liked spending time with my dad but not slitting up a holiday that is supposed to be spent together.  So we were driving through North Philly trying to get to Lincoln Drive.  Well as we got on Lincoln Drive we turned one corner, then another after that one, then another, then two more and at that moment the light was green turning yellow.  The car in front went through on green, we went through on yellow and the car behind us went through on red.





“Why are you so happy? My mom said.”

“Because we have a Thanksgiving break performance and a party today.  I said.”

“Are you performing? My mom asked.” 

“Yes, mom why do you think I am so happy? I said.” 

“I don’t know, maybe because you are cooking for thanksgiving. My mom said.”

“Oh that’s really funny mom. I said.”  

            After that my mom told my sister and I to go get in the car so we could go to school.  We were on Lincoln Drive driving to North Philadelphia even though I lived in Germantown.  But my mom and stepdad thought we should be more in the area of their work places.  So school started and an hour passed before anything happen; my class and I were like urgggggg, omgggggg and mannnnn, “when is the performance going to start?”  The performances started at 11:00 a.m. and ended at about 1:30 p.m., directly after the performances the school had a big party that ended at 2:45 p.m.  So for the last nineteen minutes of school we had fun, just sitting there playing games, talking and the 5th grade classes decide to have all of our classes together. When that clock hit 3:04 p.m., we ran out of the classroom and ran home.

            As I asked before have you ever seen life pass before your eyes?  Well with ten seconds, I will show you how I have seen life pass before my eyes. 10…. Leaving from school, 9…. Driving to get to Lincoln Drive, 8…. Turning every corner on Lincoln Drive, 7…. Making that yellow light, 6…. The feeling of the car from behind us hit, 5…. The pain in and out of my body, blood from my sisters mouth and the screaming from my sister and I screaming, 4…. My mom’s reaction, 3…. My mom going in to pre-term labor, 2…. The ride in ambulance to the hospital, 1…. Arriving to the hospital and hearing the doctors say my mom may lose my baby sister.

            Earlier, when I said, “something was different, it either was the car in front or the car behind us”, it was the car in back.  The guy who was driving the truck was a little drunk, and alcohol and driving don’t mix.  They both had trucks, which had looked like they were monster trucks, one with the full metal bumper guard.  So the guy in back of us ran the red light and then without trying to stop his car, he hit us from behind and pushed us forward, under the truck in front of us.  The pain from this crash was backbreaking pain.  I was in the back of the van, where the car hit the little trunk and the trunk crashed in to the last row seat where I was and that chair broke in half on my back.  I cried and screamed like the soldiers who are dying in Iraq.  My mom ran from the front of the car to the back to make sure I could move and see if anything was broken.  Next she checked on my sister who had chipped her tooth and was bleeding from her nose and mouth.  But the thing my mom forgot was that she was pregnant, being in a car accident and running right after sends you it to pre-term labor.  If you’re wondering where does the title “The day a life was almost taken” fits in well, when my mom was driving and the car was pushed us up and under the other car, the stirring wheel broke and went down to the bottom of the car, which stop my mom from hitting her stomach and killing my little sister Lola.  While my mom was running around checking on us she called my aunt Nikki.


“Hello. My mom said.”

“Hey girl what you doing. My aunt said.” 

“Hurry up I just got in a car accident. My mom said.” 

“Where are you? My aunt said.” 

“I am on Lincoln Drive with the kids and I think. My mom said.” 

“What do you think? My aunt said.”  

My mom was out cold in the front seat, the ambulance pulled up and took us to the hospital.

            At the hospital is where we found out that my mom almost lost her life and my little sister’s life.  My aunt called our dad and stepdad because my sister and I had to go to our dad’s house, and so my stepdad could stay with my mom.  So for thanksgiving this year, it was suppose to be my moms year with us but we stayed at our dad’s house for a while and then when my mom came out of the hospital we went home.  The mood of the house was like a depressed soap opera.  Thinking of the life I had before the pain in my body.  Times running around without falling because my knee decides to give out or not even being able to play any sports in and out of school because of fear that I may not move again with the wrong moment of my back.

            After the car accident I had to go to rehab to rebuild the strength of my knees and back.  For years and years I can still fill the pain in my knee and back, it feels like fire and unstopping bleeding.  My sister had to get a plastic tooth place on top of her chipped tooth and she had to go to rehab also.  After her tooth was replaced, she found out that she can’t eat different types of food and shouldn’t try to run as fast as she use to. My mom couldn’t rebuild her body from the car accident because she was still pregnant.  For my mom it took her longer to recover from her pregnancy, for females who weren’t in a car accident.  Even today we all have pains in our body. 

            But life for me has changed; I reflect back to the times where there was fun no pain and a lot of gain for me.  But now there is more pain then gain and a lot of things I used to be able to do I can’t do any more.  The good thing about this story is that the value of family and life itself is priceless. This was the telling off “The Day A Life Was Almost Taken”.




For the Q3_Benchmark we had to pick a character from the story of Macbeth and compare them to another from the movie of “Where art thou brother” or another character from a movie and or book.


50 Cent v. Odysseus


            History might actually have had a chance to repeat itself.  In many we can connect the present day to the older historical days.  For the first comparison the story of “The Odyssey” to the movie “Get Rich or Die Tryin”.  Although 50 cent and Odysseus are from different places and different time periods, they deal with similar problems as a rapper/drug dealer and a warrior/king.


            Coming from the streets of New York (NY) seeing drug dealers on each corner, pit bull terriers and Rottweiler’s, cops and homeless people to a stoned kingdom in Ithaca with blacksmiths selling swords, lions and tigers, soldiers and baggers.  The thesis is proven right because NY to Ithaca have many ways to sell and buy but also have pets of different species.  But in NY you die in honor if you die by getting killed by a stray bullet or just getting shot but in Ithaca you can die as a soldier would or you would die in war but for both if you do a crime you get the death sentence or prison time.


Quote v. Quote

             “Get rich or Die tryin” is the name of the movie but also the quote of the movie.  The quote means live life to the fullest and make something of it or die while trying to live it. This was the sitting point to the movie because it started off with the death of 50 cent.  Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story of that man skilled in all ways of contending, the wanderer, harried for years on end, after he plundered the stronghold on the proud height of Troy” (Book 1, lines 1-3).  To me this quote means that he saw his falls but he had to strive on for his shipmates and make it back to Ithaca alive to become king again.


50 cent vs. Prison and Odysseus vs. War

            Since 50 cent was a drug dealer he got arrested for the containment of drugs.  He want to prison for six months and he was at war because somebody tried to kill him and the security gave him a razor blade to kill himself.  But as being a great leader he started to write on the wall his little rhymes and in no time everybody knew his raps in prison.  Also his girlfriend at the time was by his side in every way and she was pregnant with his son.  Although Odysseus did not go to jail but went to war in another country.  He fought for his kingdom and his men (Book 3, lines 340-6).  But Odysseus had a long way before getting to go home.  Every time he got closer to being home something happen and even though Odysseus was gone for twenty years Penelope stayed loyal to her husband.  Odysseus and his men were on the boat right across from Ithaca but his men opened up the bag fall of air.  This bag was opened and pushed them back to other country.  In the movie with 50 cent his bag was filled with money.  His crew pulled a job robbing a Korean shop and somebody from his crew shot him and killed him.


The coming back

            When 50 cent got shot he die but he came back to life.  The doctors started to work on him and after they were done his mouth was wired shut, his rapping put on hold and him being a drug dealer was finished for good.  Months passed by at time and his mouth to wired.  Him not even trying to rap or do anything with his life but when his wife said, “I’m leaving and taking our baby” he got up and unwired his mouth and started to rap.  Before Odysseus could get back to Ithaca he was pushed back to another country where he stayed another year at because he had a woman who loved him a lot.  When he was told that his men were sick, tired and wanted to go home to be with their families, to which Odysseus responded like okay with a feeling of “yes we do needed to get back, just wait a little longer” (Book 18, lines 443-51).


            Although 50 cent and Odysseus are from different places and different time periods, they deal with similar problems as a rapper/drug dealer and a warrior/king.  In this paper it should of have hit the three main points I was aiming for.  Point one is the Quote v. Quote, which showed the comparison between the titled of the 50 cent movie and the first lines of “The Odyssey”.  The second point is 50 cent vs. Prison and Odysseus vs. War this is where the comparison and differences of the main characters of the movie and book.  The third point is the comeback for both of the characters and how they fell down but got right back up.  In all, this is how history has had a chance to repeat itself.


For our Independent Reading we have to read a book with then 150 pages and talk about how we liked the book, any interesting things, what we learned and a summary of the book.

One of Us

 The title of the story is One of us written by Anne Schraff.  This book falls into a series of stories written for the Urban Underground book series, some known stories are ……….


·      When a hero Dies

·      Secrets in the Shadows

·      Until we meet again

·      Be very much Afraid

·      Someone to Love Me

·      Lost and Found

·      If you Really Loved Me

·      One of Us


Other research found out about Anne Schraff and the Book.


            Anne Schraff wrote books and books about everyday life.  The stories speak about how different stages of time in life.  Her books were never turned into movies but a lot of people asked her to make movies of her books.  Also the book I read is in the Urban Underground series which isn’t the only series she has done, another series is the Bluford series, which is her earlier series.  Well I couldn’t find any records of awards won by Anne Schraff but that means her books are.


            One of Us was about a kid name Derrick who lived in a neighborhood like Philadelphia, corner stores on every corner and violence.  Derrick and has family was struggling with money, so Derrick got a job at the 99¢ store.  When he closed up one night he witnessed a murder in which put him in a situation where it was life or death.  Derrick went to Tubman High School where B.J Brady went.  B.J Brady shot and killed Rafe WexFord who was a high school/college track star.  Derrick was told to keep quiet or him and his mom, dad, sister and brothers would die.  So Derrick wanted to say something but was like I can’t and then a girl started to like Derrick so it was even harder not to tell anyone.  But at the end of the story B.J Brady dies and they had an argument about who would ever go to his funeral and people stepped up and went to his funerals.  The main characters are Derrick, Wes and B.J Brady.  Derrick was the witness of the story and the story was about him.  Wes was the owner of the 99¢ store, which he talked to Derrick about life.  B.J Brady was the murderer and the person Derrick was scared of.  The conflicted was the murder that was witness, the threat that was said to Derrick and the reaction to the threat and the murder.  So the kind would be “person vs. person, person vs. society and person vs. self”.  My favorite character is Derrick because he is scared of what would happen and even through that he found a girl and close friend and learned a life lesson.  Also Derrick grew as a character, something like a weak leader to a strong leader by leading the people in his life to the right path.  In the story Derrick went from getting a job for his family to getting people to come to the funeral of a kid who lost his ways in the street of violence and that nobody cared for.  Readers should take amazement from this story but also things happen unexpectedly.


            I could relate to Derrick and his friend because when everybody thought that B.J Brady deserved nothing but his ashes being thrown in the trash.  I can relate because I had to see the good from the bad in a person. But they respected him as the kid they knew before his drugs and violent life came a long.  I have never had actually been in a part of life to say that I have felt what Derrick felt or I haven’t had to do anything Derrick had to do.


 My view on this book is that it is a good book.  One weakness is that this book isn’t for people who wouldn’t like murder and a life of a struggling kid going through a hard time.  One strength is that you will come away looking at life differently or how unexpected things are.  I wouldn’t change anything in the book because it tells a story of a young man who was just at the wrong but right place at the wrong time. 


            I would say if you are interested into life in different points of views this book is for you.  If you are into moments of shocking and spine chilling in your body this is a book for you.  Also even if your somebody who doesn’t like books like this one, then the Anne Schraff series is for you because she changes everything with reading in her series.  So if your bored or just need a book to read pick up an Anne Schraff book series.


For my optional piece I chose is my Me Magazine from the beginning of the year and this Me Magazine is all about me, Who I am as a person but also who I want to be.


Me Mag
Here are some journals from the year…

Why Do We Write?

I believe we write so that we can better our skill of writing to express ourselves. If we write down what teachers say we can study for test and or just have the knowledge to share if needed. Also some people may learn better and faster because they learn by seeing.


How Important Is It To Fit In?

To me it’s not important to fit in because I rather be myself then someone I’m not and if I don’t fit in I won’t care. But since me being myself I do fit in because I dance, rap and I’m sociable. And when I don’t try to fit in there is always one person that is a he or she has something interesting about them that I am interested in. 


Has Anyone Ever Exceeded Your Expectations?

A lot of people exceed expectations upon me because the way I look and the way I act. But the reason is because I am big in appearance so some may say he can handle this load or he can carry this and that. Also I acted will around people with first impressions so I am not shocked with the way they come off to me.


If You Really Knew Me…

You would know that I don’t always smile and I’m not always happy. I go through stuff all the time from small to big. Growing up I saw stuff that a child should not have seen. I heard stuff and been around stuff where I could have lose my life. Seeing my parents struggle with different things made me think about if I will ever have to go through that, and things and people who hurt my family, so behind to smile, dancing and rapping there is some angriness inside.