From the Book Thief

Spring Semester, 2017

Portfolio Assignment

Date Due: Mon, March 27

What is a portfolio?

A portfolio is a compilation of materials and artifacts (writings, doodles, images, photographs, creative responses, journaling) that demonstrate learning. An academic portfolio also demonstrates your ability to reflect upon, synthesize, and showcase your work. In this case, your portfolio should reflect your experience, understanding, and evaluation of the novel, The Book Thief. Think of it as a “positive portrait” of your ability to document and track your learning experience.

How to Create a Portfolio

  1. Collect—Gather (write, photograph, draw, paint, record, save) evidence of all your reading, reflection, and in-class work. Edit and proofread. Your portfolio should reflect your work at its best.
  2. Sort & Filter—Organize your work by chronology, subject, and/or learning. Determine the best, most representative and important pieces that you want to include in your portfolio.
  3. The Table of Contents—Put material into the order that best shows it off and create a table of contents reflecting that order.
  4. Final Touches—Arrange in a binder. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on folders, but do be neat, thoughtful and organized. Include tabs as needed for labels. Use captions. Use color to help important items stand out. Use headlines to capture subjects or points of interest. Be creative. Express yourself.

What Should be Included in Your Portfolio?

Present 15-20 pages; at least half should be written: journal entries, reflections, etc. The rest can be art, cartoons, annotated news clippings, flow charts, collage, photos, etc.

Save everything you create or find. Decide later what you want to include in your portfolio. Remember that there is not one perfect way to create a portfolio. A portfolio is a sample of your work and should be presented in your own creative style. Portfolios present artifacts as evidence of learning. Each artifact should be accompanied by a caption or reflection explaining it. The following should be included:
  1. Title Page & Table of Contents
  2. 1 page Process Letter explaining your experience compiling this portfolio.
  3. Daily Reading & Response Journal (notes on The Book Thief, plot, characters, theme, etc. and your personal response to the reading)
  4. Theme—Explain at least two different themes that run through The Book Thief.
  5. Quotes—Select 3 or 4 quotes from the book and explain why you chose them.
  6. Vocabulary Words—List at least a dozen unfamiliar words & their meaning.
  7. Research—Explore the history the book recounts: Germany during World War II, etc. This could include news articles, blogs, quotes from books, and/or historical documentation. Expand your knowledge of the time period and events.
  8. Write a brief comparison of The Book Thief to the film The Swing Kids.

Other Possibilities You Could Include:

  1. Writing about how the author uses dreams in The Book Thief. Keep a dream journal or write about dreams that have stayed with you.
  2. Describe a cloud or some other aspect of nature in a way that brings it fully to life the way Liesel did—the gift of the cloud she described for Max.
  3. Create a cover for the novel. The point is not artistic excellence, but relevance and revelation.
  4. Create a collage of images that reveal some aspect of the book.
  5. Draw a cartoon for some portion of the book, or in response to some portion of the book. Write a brief explanation of your cartoon and talk about the impact of having a cartoon-like section in The Book Thief.
  6. Discuss the novel’s personification of death.
  7. Create a story for Liesel; your own version of the Standover Man.
  8. Interview—find someone in the community or your family who has lived through different times than you. Get them to tell you their story.
  9. Write about Hitler’s comment that “youth lead the way.” Do you agree with this, in relation to your ability to influence those around you? The world? Explain your answer from your own life, from history, or from current events.