Tanya Karpinchyk and Ariel Huang, grade 5

are both first year students at BASIS Independent Silicon Valley who LOVE Physical Geography and P.E. Tanya and Ariel are Student Ambassadors and enjoy interacting with their fellow students.Tanya & Ariel.jpg

Both Tanya and Ariel love that “the teachers are really approachable and they have a lot of experience.” Tanya added that “they are also very friendly.” Tanya and Ariel already knew a handful of BISV students from their previous schools and outside activities when they first enrolled, but it didn’t take long for them to really connect with their classmates. Ariel said “it feels like we are friends with all of the other students in our class.” From a practical perspective, Ariel also appreciates that the bathrooms on campus are clean-this has not always been her experience at school and she thinks is very important.

Tanya and Ariel are in the same element so they share an identical schedule. Consequently, they are inseparable on campus, and were so excited to be interviewed together. When asked about their favorite class throughout the school day, it was a resounding PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY! They both say that Mr. Ryan is “strict, but funny,” and Tanya especially likes to participate in the labs and activities in that class. Tanya and Ariel both really enjoy P.E. class and playing sports, and Ariel also looks forward to English because she likes creative writing.

To start the day, Tanya and Ariel have Introduction to Science with Mr. Barnes. Tanya thinks the labs are great, and Ariel especially enjoys that "there are different units so you can learn about everything.” They recently dissected a frog in class, which Ariel described as “cool, but really gross at the same time.”

After Introduction to Science, the next two classes are a combination of Art, Music or P.E. (depending on the day of the week). Currently the students in Mr. Tucker’s Art class are drawing pictures of gingerbread houses, which both girls are enjoying. Ariel especially likes all of the different art projects. In Music with Mr. Wolf, the class is practicing for a winter concert, “so it’s a lot of work” said Tanya. Ariel brightened as she talked about P.E., which is a favorite class for both girls. She said “It’s really fun right now! We are playing Ultimate Frisbee, and have already finished units on Football, Basketball and Volleyball.” Both girls love Ms. Miller, “she is fierce and really funny!”

Next, Tanya and Ariel have English with Ms. Salinas. Both really like creative writing in general and specifically writing stories for class. One of Tanya’s favorite tasks is when Ms. Salinas assigns creative writing assignments that require the use of the week’s vocabulary words.  “It’s a challenge, but I like it” she explained.

Lunchtime is a chance to see their friends. They always buy lunch in the cafeteria, so they go there first and get in line.

For math, Tanya and Ariel take Introduction to Pre-Algebra with Mr. Nguyen. According to both of them, Mr. Nguyen is really funny and approachable. Ariel explained “He teaches a new lesson each day and is really good at explaining everything especially if we don’t quite understand something.” Their favorite thing about him is that he lets the class do test corrections, which really helps the students understand the concepts. Tanya appreciates his approach because “he asks us to explain the mistake we made so that we learn how to do the problem correctly next time.”

After math, Tanya and Ariel have either Classics or Latin with Dr. Van Dusen, which both girls look forward to during the day. So much so in fact, that Tanya is a peer tutor for Classics as she very much enjoys the subject. Ariel liked learning about mummification and one of her favorite activities so far this year was when they mummified a hot dog in class. Both Ariel and Tanya were shadow students on campus before they enrolled, and Latin seemed really scary on their first visit here. Once they started 5th grade at BISV, Ariel realized “that Dr. Van Dusen is so nice, and I love Latin-especially doing translations!”

The last class of the day is Physical Geography with Mr. Ryan. Tanya loves that “this class is full of great labs and activities,” but one of their favorite things to do is called “Teach Teach.” Mr. Ryan says that “If you can teach it, you can do it.” Ariel explained that “once he has taught us a lesson, we then teach our partner the same lesson. It can be a little repetitive, but it’s the best way to learn a new concept.” One reason that Tanya’s favorite class is Physical Geography is that she can be active and hands on almost every day.

After school, they go to school clubs and other outside activities. Latin Club is a favorite, and both girls take dance classes and foreign language classes outside of school. In terms of homework, most days Tanya and Ariel have about an hour to an hour and a half. Some days there is less, and then if they have a big project or essay it may be a little more.



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