Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a grade 6 Bobcat? Meet Chloe H.! She joined us last year as a student in grade 5 from a local public school. Her older brother paved the way for her, as he started at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley (BISV) a few years before she did, so she was not very nervous to begin at a new school.
When we talked about the difference between a public school and BISV, she said that there is definitely a difference in the work level. She explained "there is a lot more work here, but it is worth the change, I am learning more here and it's more interesting." In grade 5, everyone is new to BISV together. Chloe explained that this year is different for her than last year, as there is more of a mix of students who are both new to the school, and those who've risen up from grade 5. In grade 6, she has made more connections with new friends through clubs. One of Chloe's favorite clubs this year is Robotics, it's new for her this year and she is enjoying every moment of it.
Chloe's first class of the day is Latin with Ms. Odell. She likes Latin, but it can be hard because she will sometimes accidentally make connections to the vocabulary in English, and forget the Latin word. She enjoys Ms. Odell, saying "she is very good at explaining questions so that everyone understands."
After Latin, Chloe heads to English with Dr. Jensen. English is a pretty easy class for her as they are building on grammar from last year. The class is currently reading The Endless Steppe, which leads to lots of class discussions. "We work on annotations based on the story, and will soon write opinion essays." She went on to say that "Dr. Jensen is helpful in office hours."
Depending on the day of the week, Chloe will then go to either Physical Education or one of her science courses. Like all students in grades 6-8, Chloe has three spiraling science courses in each discipline throughout the week: Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Today she has Physics with Mr. Adams. Right now, they are learning about Newton's First Law, which is related to inertia. Before that, they learned about acceleration, equations, and movement. Chloe says that Physics is her most challenging class of the day. She has to push herself more and ask more questions, and has visited physics office hours most of all. Even though the material is challenging "Mr. Adams is very good about being open to all questions, and always thorough in explanations." They’ve already taken a test, and she felt good that she was prepared.
The class taking notes on Newton's Laws.
In Physical Education, which is a 50 minute class held three times a week, the class is currently playing volleyball. Chloe enjoys it, she feels that she "needs to get better at it and be more confident." She's really looking forward to hockey games in the spring. Chloe likes Ms. Miller and says, "she is a good teacher, especially if you are a good listener." Ms. Miller is one of Chloe's favorite instructors.
Next is Lunch! Chloe's favorite activity is to play four square with her friends. The lunch hour is a good break in the middle of the day, she prefers "to get energy out so I'm not hyper for the rest of the day." She hasn't needed to utilize them often this year, but she also likes the idea of office hours being available during lunchtime.
Period 5 is Art History with Ms. Jones. Art is one of Chloe's favorite subjects outside of school. She likes to draw, and also does a lot of drawing at home. She's taken weekend art classes since grade 1 as she really loves the subject. Chloe explained that in class they just finished learning about Egyptian art, and she thinks that next they will be learning about Grecian art. As we talked about the content she explained that "Lots of the art topics are connected to the Classics course in grade 5, which has helped me to understand about some of the cultures." Chloe went on to say that "Ms. Jones is very nice, and it's a fun class"
Chloe beginning to sketch out an ocean themed mosaic project
In the afternoon, her schedule again varies based on the day of the week. Some days she will go to Chemistry, and others she will go to Biology. In Chemistry with Mr. Ryan, the class just learned about significant figures, and now they are learning about physical properties. She enjoys when they get to do labs in class. Most recently they completed a lab where they learned how to measure liquid. Chloe explained that it was an exercise in "learning about lab precision."
For Biology she has Mr. Barnes, who happens to be her most favorite teacher. Chloe thinks that he's "very good at making the class feel less like a class. It's a lot of fun every day." They have just begun learning about muscles and about body structures. Biology is her favorite of all of her science classes, particularly because she really enjoys Mr. Barnes, but also because her mom is a doctor. Biology has always been a favorite family topic. When Chloe was younger she wanted to be a surgeon, but she isn't sure if this is still her path. As she has become more interested in robotics, she thinks that she may want to do something that integrates both medicine and robotics.
Up next is World History with Mr. Henriquez. Chloe enjoys this class, and likes Mr. Henriquez a lot. They are currently learning about China, which is interesting for her. She explained that she likes talking to her parents about what she is learning, and about her grandparent's heritage. An additional reason she enjoys the class so much is that they "do a lot of group work, so we get to talk each other and share opinions."
Chloe reading aloud during a class exercise.
Chloe finishes the day with math. She takes Algebra I & Geometry with Dr. Neff. They have been easing into the material slowly, with lots of review from last year. They have just learned how to solve equations. Chloe said that math is comfortable for her, she "doesn't need to memorize things, just make sure the concepts are understood."
Chloe's advice to a new student in grade 6 is to be flexible with homework as each class may be a bit different. She continued "there are lots of different types of teachers and work, and it might be hard in the beginning. All of the teachers are great, and ready to help you when you need it."