As part of our rich and varied curriculum we hold termly focus weeks, during which the whole school comes off time-table to take part in planned activities linked to a common text…Take One Book! The focus week is led by a staff team, made up of different subject leaders:
- Creative Team – Art & Design, Music, PE and English
- STEM Team – Science, Design Technology, English, Maths and Computing
- Discovery Team – History, Geography, RE, PSHCE and English
Examples of our focus week activities
STEM Focus Week - 2020
As part of our STEM Focus Week activities, each year group has been asked to report on a day for the school newsletter and website. Below are the children’s thoughts and words about their Focus Week.
Monday 9th March 2020 – Year 2
STEM focus week was kicked off by an exciting maths quiz. We all split into our year groups and nominated one person per team to answer some maths questions. When we got to the hall, it was set up like a real quiz with noisy buzzers! Some of the questions were quite tricky but we managed to answer all of them. Gade team won because they were super quick at answering the questions and didn’t hesitate once they had pressed the buzzer.
“I enjoyed answering the questions because I liked the challenge.” (Fariah)
“I loved watched to see who got the most points, it was really exciting!” (Dylan)
“I wasn’t the nominated person but I enjoyed answering the questions in my head whilst being an audience member!” (Alfred)
After taking part in the exciting maths quiz, it was time to go back to our classrooms where we read the focus story ‘The Nowhere box’. Once we were familiar with the story, it was time to design our own ‘Nowhere box’. We worked in teams to come up with a design.
“I enjoyed designing the different features, like the draw bridge.” (Sacha)
“I enjoyed reviewing our designs and seeing if we could make them better.” (Ingrid)
What a great first day we have had! We can’t wait to actually MAKE our Nowhere boxes!
Tuesday 10th March – Nursery
We enjoyed hearing our STEM focus week story of ‘The Nowhere Box’ and have started creating our own nowhere boxes. So far we have a train, a rocket and a ‘frog in a box’!
Wednesday 11th March – Reception
We are having a very busy week…yesterday The Canal and River Trust visited our school to talk to us about different ways to stay safe around canals and rivers and how to look after our local environment.
“We learnt in the hall with our visitor about the canals” (James)
“We learnt not to go near the canal so that we don’t fall in” (Adam)
On Monday we designed our ‘Nowhere Boxes’, inspired by the story written by Sam Zappardi…Can you guess where they might take us?
Children in Owl class said…
“We loved designing and making the boxes, making it into a rocket, fridge and time machine.”
“We loved reading the book.”
After we finished our designs, we set about making our ‘Nowhere boxes’. We really enjoyed getting creative and working like Bee!
“I made a castle…with a floppy door.” (Freddie)
“I liked making my Nowhere Box. We made a hotel. We liked making the food.” (Jasmin)
“We liked measuring our boxes and ordering them from shortest to tallest.” (Owl Class)
“I liked making the nowhere box. I made a time machine. I used CDs because it looked like a rainbow on the back.” (Israa)
“I liked making the nowhere box. I made a car. The car goes to Nowhere.” (Kiyaan)
“My favourite part was making the nowhere box. It was a castle rocket. I used foil and tape to make it.” (Bhargav)
As part of British Science Week, we have been using our scientific skills to try & work out what might be in the mystery box. We had to ask questions to work out what it could be!
“I liked when we all thought about what was in the box. We asked questions and then had to guess. It was a fox.” (Simi)
We have also been using our Maths skills…
“We liked measuring our boxes and ordering them from shortest to tallest.” (Owl Class)
Thursday 12th March
This week in Year 1 it was STEM focus week. We had a Maths Quiz and in it Chess Team won. My favourite question was “Is it a pentagon?”
We have been reading the story “The Nowhere Box” by Sam Zuppardi. It was a bit exciting because we were going to make our own Nowhere boxes. But we needed to know the story because it was the story of the focus week. We designed our Nowhere boxes to build. Mine was a rocket, ours was a flying car and mine was a castle with a balcony. The best part of making the boxes was putting string on it, decorating inside the box and putting the flag on one of the turrets.
The teachers took a video of us holding our Nowhere boxes in front of a green screen. We had to say what our box was and how we decorated it. It was fun!
We also went on a trip to Cassiobury Park and we made boats. We floated them on the River Gade. They were made out of cork, elastic bands and a thin lolly stick with some red foil. Did they sink or float? The all floated because they were light and made out of very light materials which were buoyant.
Today it is non-uniform day and I came as a garden (Poorani). I came as a dragon (Joe) and Kush is going to put out my fire if it gets out of control with fire everywhere! (Joe). I’m a rocket and it says so on my t-shirt (Senna).
The best bit of the week was when we made our Nowhere boxes, then lifted them into the hall and took the video.
- Poorani from Hedgehog class
- Senna from Kingfisher class
- Joe from Robin class
Friday 13th March
We rounded off our focus week with a visit from Parth and Simran’s dad who taught us about drones and their uses in a special assembly. We found out a drone can fly up to 400m high! The WHOLE SCHOOL then went outside to watch him fly the drone…the children were so excited and had a great morning.
Creative Focus Week - 2019
Our Creative Focus Week took place Monday 21st – Friday 25th October 2019 and was planned around the text ‘The Great Fairy Tale Disaster’ by David Conway. All of the learning activities for the week were linked to English, Art, Music and PE. As part of our Creative Focus Week activities, each year group has been asked to report on a day for the school newsletter and website. Below are the children’s thoughts and words about their Focus Week…
Monday – Tia and Alfred (Year 2)
Once upon a time, three Year 2 classes started the day by taking part in a dance workshop with ViBeatz. Megan exclaimed that “It was amazing because we did different dance moves like the snake!” Tia thought “The dance was quite challenging because there were lots of steps, but it was really fun.”
Later that day, they read and acted out a variety of fairy tales, including Little Red Riding Hood, the Ginger Bread Man and the Three Little Pigs. They also explored the features of a fairy tale…do you know what the features of a fairy tale are? We will tell you! The first feature is that all fairy tales begin with ‘Once upon a time’.
That afternoon they carouseled around the different classrooms to take part in art activities. In each room they developed their art skills, such as painting and mark making. The end result was a fairy tale landscape complete with characters…and they all lived happily ever after!
Tuesday – Nursery
On Tuesday we went on a fairy tale adventure around the school. We ran round the running track looking for the Gingerbread Man!
“The pumpkin turned into a carriage.” (Ayla)
“We built a tower for Rapunzel” (Jessie)
“We ran on the running track” (Jake)
“There was porridge in the forest!” (Seth)
Wednesday – Freddie, Abbie, Sanaya (Reception)
We had a great time in Reception today mixing, stirring and rolling our bear biscuit ingredients. We used a recipe to measure the ingredients we needed. We then rolled some of the mixture, chose a shape and then we cooked our bear biscuits. Freddie predicted that they would taste ‘sweet’. Abbie thought they will taste like, ‘chocolate and strawberry’ and Sanaya said they would look ‘crispy’.
Reception Pupil Voice:
“My favourite part was the dancing workshop because of the Big Bad Wolf music. I liked being a wolf.” (Haytham)
“I liked the dancing part and I want to dance when I’m bigger.” (Layla)
“I liked making the biscuits and I made a Big Bad Wolf biscuit.” (Rohan)
“I liked the music, especially the violin. Nina played the violin with her mummy.” (Libby)
“I liked writing the story because it’s really fun.” (Diya)
“I liked making the biscuits. I liked pushing the cutter in the biscuit.” (Daniel)
“My favourite part of today was cutting the biscuits.” (Freddie)
“I liked cutting out the biscuits and my mum playing the violin.” (Nina)
“I liked making the biscuits because I mixed it.” (Hannah)
Even the teachers had fun…
“I loved the dance workshop. Everyone was smiling and having fun.” (Mrs Russo)
“I loved Nina’s mum coming in to sing to us. She sang beautifully and she chose some of our favourite songs. She played the violin and recorder too. What a talented musician she is!” (Mrs Woodley)
Thursday – Zeca and Claudia (Year 1)
Once upon a time there were three Year 1 classes, Robin, Hedgehog and Kingfisher. On Thursday they finished off their mixed up fairy tales where they wrote about different characters and unusual problems. Next they watched David Latham, an artist, paint a picture. After that they sang their Year 1 song ‘We’re Rich!’ It was exciting and fun for Year 1.
We finished off the week with a special Star of the Week Assembly, to celebrate the children’s learning, followed by a sing-song of fairy tale songs from each class. We also announced the winner of the #CassInfReading challenge – well done to Hedgehog class who earned a bag a Golden House Points!
Thank you to all of the parents and visitors that have supported our focus week and made it special for the children… we have had a great week. Here are some of the children’s favourite bits…
Jai enjoyed making a story wheel because “We got to create mixed up fairy tales.”
“I loved making the landscape because we used different techniques like watercolour, collage and mark marking.” (Ferdie)
“I liked doing the dance workshop because we learnt lots of different moves and it was fun!” (Megan)
Our School Council ran a bake-sale at the end of the week to raise funds for the school – it was VERY popular, raising £431.80! The money will be spent on resources for children in their classrooms.
Discovery Focus Week - 2019
We held our Discovery Focus Week during 3rd- 7th June 2019 and based all of our learning around two texts: ‘Ocean Meets Sky’ (The Fan Brothers) and ‘Maps’ (Aleksandra & Daniel Mizienski).
The Discovery Team was led by the subject leaders of: History, Geography, R.E, PSHCE and English. We started the week off with a launch assembly during which the children were read the story of ‘Ocean Meets Sky’, as well as finding out about all of the exciting tasks and activities planned for the week. Each class were given a different country to research during the Focus Week:
- Squirrel – Australia
- Owl – Thailand
- Rabbit – Sweden
- Woodpecker – Italy
- Hedgehog – Spain
- Kingfisher – New Zealand
- Robin – Denmark
- Badger – Brazil
- Fox – Germany
- Heron – China
At the end of the week the classes competed against each other in a Mastermind Quiz with questions based on the country that they had been learning about.
We got up to lots of interesting activities during Discovery Focus Week…
Did you enjoy Discovery Focus Week?
“I enjoyed learning about Brazil and the capital city Brasilia.” (Neve)
“I liked finding out where landmarks were in Brazil.” (Maira)
“I liked it because I liked learning how to speak some Portuguese words.” (Alfie)
“I enjoyed the week because I learnt when Brazilian landmarks were started and completed.” (Lex)
“I liked it because I found out all about the famous landmark Christ the Redeemer.” (Mishika)
“I enjoyed learning about Germany and sharing my information on the Reichstag.” (Leonie)
“I enjoyed learning the words in German.” (Brooke)
“I liked looking on a map and locating different places in Germany.” (Amelia)
“I love doing the Rakau – I taught my mum!” (Florence)
“I liked making the ANZAC biscuits.” (Malaik)
“It was funny learning the haka and showing the parents.” (Harrison)
“I enjoyed learning about Thailand. I liked playing [the quiz] with everybody.” (Freddy)
“I liked learning about the Grand Palace in the capital Bangkok. It was built 1782.” (Daya)
“We enjoyed learning about Denmark and some Danish words from Ingrid’s mum who came in.” (Robins)
“I enjoyed making the longboat.” (Ibrahim)
“I liked learning about the Vikings.” (Ivan)
At the end of the Discovery Focus Week we held an open-afternoon for parents to come in and look at our learning from throughout the week. We also had a bake sale, run by the School Council, where we sold food from around the world that each class had made during the focus week. The sale was very popular (and tasty!); we raised £343.80 which we are going to put towards Computing equipment for the children.
STEM Focus Week - 2019
Our STEM Focus Week took place Monday 11th – Friday 15th February 2019 and was planned around the text ‘The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot’ by Margaret McNamara. All of the learning activities for the week were linked to English, Maths, Science and Computing.
We contacted the author of the Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot and told her about our STEM Focus Week, here is what she had to say…
The children have been busy applying their working scientifically skills throughout STEM focus week. They have:
- predicted which materials would be the most suitable for a rocket
- experimented with materials by manipulating them in different ways
- investigated how far the rockets would travel by launching them across the playground
- made conclusions based on their findings
- developed their knowledge of the solar system
Have a look at some of our fantastic work:
“I enjoyed making and testing rockets because we could use our own ideas to make them and I enjoyed finding out which rocket went the furthest.” (Darcie)
“I liked learning about rockets and making rockets because they go into space!” (Kai)
“My rocket went fast and I won!” (Zeca)
“I loved solving the problem of ‘Which material would be the most suitable for a rocket?’. We had to work well in a team and it was a challenge!” (Matas)
This week, Cassiobury pupils have been official Reporters! One of the Computing activities that the children took part in was to interview pupils around the school and take photographs of what each class was doing during focus week and then upload their reports onto our website – you can see how they got on below…
Nursery Reporting of STEM Focus Week
Rabbit Class – The children told us about using the ‘Bluebots’, “We press the ‘x’ thing and we put where the beebot wants to go. Then press ‘go’ and it goes where we want it to go.”
- Rishaan made a rocket from plastic bottles, “One high and two short ones and put selotape around it.”
- George also made a rocket. “Rishaan helped me put the door on”
- Isla told us that they had read the story of “The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot” and she had been the mummy when they acted it out.
Owl Class – In Owl class we saw children making flying saucers. We asked questions about a rocket they showed us.
Woodpecker Class – These children were drawing aliens.
Squirrel Class – In nursery we looked at all the different costumes the children were wearing. Here are Robot Ralph and Astronaut Layla.
Reception Reporting of STEM Focus Week
We saw lots of great learning around school today. Thank you to our Reception reporters, Halima, Audrey and Kiyan. They took brilliant photos of the learning taking place around school.
Learning in Nursery – The children in Nursery were excited to show us their rocket models. They tested how far their rockets could travel in the Nursery garden.
Learning in Owl Class – Owl class have been learning about Mercury. They watched videos, read information books and created a ‘word cloud’ to record key words and vocabulary. Miles and Eliza have been writing a list of things they would take to space in a rocket. The children have been constructing a rocket using natural materials (e.g. sticks, pine cones and leaves) and will be testing how far their rockets travel later in the week.
Learning in Woodpecker Class – Woodpecker class have been programming the Blue-Bots to make them move forwards, backwards, left and right. They created their own space floor mats and gave their partner instructions to move the Blue-Bot around the space scene.
Learning in Rabbit Class – The children have been retelling ‘The Three Little Aliens and The Big Bad Robot.’
Learning in Kingfisher Class – Kingfisher class have been learning about Jupiter. They created posters to record their learning.
Learning in Hedgehog Class – Hedgehog class have been creating rockets using junk modelling materials.
Learning in Robin Class – Ivan from Robin class is constructing a “space station.”
Learning in Fox Class – Fox class have been finding out facts about Neptune. They have created a poster to display the information.
Learning in Heron Class – Heron class have been finding out facts about Pluto. They have created posters to display the information.
Learning in Badger Class – Badger class have been learning about Uranus. Mishika explained how “it’s got a big ring around it. Little specs of dust.” Harvey talked about Uranus having “27 moons”.
Year 1 Reporting STEM Focus Week
Some year 1 children became reporters to feedback what the school have been carrying out on Day 1 of the STEM Focus Week.
Rabbit Class – we enjoyed reading the story of The Little Aliens and the Big Bad Wolf, while Hedgehog class acted out events and Badger class completed some comprehension activities.
Robin class – we were finding out facts about Saturn and created a word cloud. “I found out Saturn is the second biggest planet.” (Maya)
Kingfisher and Nursery – we were using a variety of materials to make rockets, while in Woodpecker class they enjoyed singing a solar system song.
Owl were learning about direction using the Bluebots, while Heron and Fox were ordering the lengths of different planets.
What a lot of learning and that’s just day 1! Check back to find out more tomorrow.
Ingrid, Shivam, Alfred and Jet – Year 1 reporters
Year 2 Reporting STEM Focus Week
Today, our reporters- Alison, George, Leonie, Eloise, Thomas and Evan- went on a mission to gather information about the learning which was taking place across the year groups. They travelled far and wide, dodging meteorites left, right and centre to bring you the latest learning happening at Cassiobury Infants School, Earth.
Here is their report:
Nursery – The nursery children enjoyed telling us about their week:
“I have made flying saucers with cheese, flour, butter and a bit of milk.” (Ralph)
“We have been throwing rockets into the sky!” (Anne)
Reception – This afternoon in reception we discovered that they were measuring how far their rockets had travelled. Georgia from Owl class informed us that they were ‘trying to find out how far the rockets would go’. Here are some examples of their favourite parts of the week:
“I liked making the rocky road. We made it using chocolate and biscuits.” (Charlotte from Owl class)
“I enjoyed learning about the planets. Venus is the hottest planet!” – (George from Rabbit class)
“I made a planet Earth using pencils.’ (Jonathan from Woodpecker class)
Year 1 – In year 1, the children were writing descriptions of the Big Bad Robot using adjectives. Mia from Hedgehog explained that she had been learning about the Big Bad Robot all week and she described what it sounded and looked like. We also asked them what their favourite part of the week has been and this is what they said:
“My favourite was making a rocket to save the Three Little Aliens. We launched them to test which went the furthest. It was made of plastic!” (Harrison from Kingfisher class)
“I enjoyed exploring Chatterpix on the iPads and recording different voices for the characters” (Annika from Kingfisher class)
“I enjoyed making rockets out of cardboard!” (Jacob from Robin class)
Year 2 – In year 2, we have been measuring how far our rockets could travel. First we made predictions and then we investigated outside by launching the rockets across the playground. 5,4,3,2,1… BLAST OFF!! We measured the distance using a metre stick, using our maths learning to make sure that we were measuring accurately.
- In Fox class we discovered that metal was the most suitable material to make a rocket out of.
- In Heron class we found that paper was the most suitable.
- In Badger class we found that cardboard was most suitable for a rocket!!
We compared results across year 2 and concluded that this may be because of our designs and the construction of our rockets.
The children have undertaken a variety of literacy activities this week linked to the story of ‘The Big Bad Robot and the Three Little Aliens’. They have…
- Retold the story through role-play
- Answered reading comprehension questions linked to the story
- labelled pictures, written lists and collected ‘Wow’ words from the text
- written their own stories and letters about the Big Bad Robot
- researched and created non-fiction texts about a space planet
“I liked doing the writing because we were expanding nouns and writing questions.” (Nabeeha)
“My best activity was The three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot when I was being an alien.” (Eli)
“I enjoyed the book the Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot.” (Talya)
The children have been busy applying their mathematical skills throughout STEM focus week. They have:
- weighed and measured ingredients for baking
- estimated how far their rockets would travel
- used standard and non-standard lengths to measure how far their rockets travelled
- collected data in tables and bar charts
“We’ve planned this and persevered and worked as a team, so when we threw our rocket it was fun to measure how far it had travelled!” (Alison)
“The metre stick must be at the end of the rocket for accurate measuring!” (Ayaan)
“This was the best day ever I could imagine in school because we’ve baked cakes and we get to buy them!” (Adam)
“My favourite part of focus week was making the rockets and seeing how far they would go and measuring which went the greatest distance.” (Laila)
Creative Focus Week - 2018
We held our Creative Focus Week during 5th – 9th November 2018 and
based all of our learning around the text: ‘Traction Man Is Here’ by Mini Grey.
The Creative Team was led by the subject leaders of: Art, Design & Technology, PE, Music and English. We started the week off with a launch assembly during which the children were read the story of Traction Man, as well as finding out about all of the exciting tasks and activities planned for the week. We even had a surprise letter for the children from the author Mini Grey who wanted to wish us well for the fun week we had planned based around her book!
Letters from Mini Grey…
English Activities linked to Traction Man
Children from all year groups wrote about Traction Man…some wrote lists or captions, others created a story in the style of Mini Grey! You can read a selection of them here…
Design & Technology activities linked to Traction Man
In D&T the children were set the following challenge:
Traction Man is wearing his ‘battle pants’, his special boots for climbing and he is carrying his rope so that he is ready to ‘save the day’. What do you think he should wear for his next adventure?
The children came up with some very creative ideas…what do you think?
Music activities linked to Traction Man
The children took part in a Music quiz in our launch assembly in which they had to guess which superhero linked to each theme tune…some of them were very tricky!
Other music activities throughout the week included:
- learning a song about Traction Man, which was sung to the tune ‘There was a princess long ago.’ The children learnt the Makaton signs for some of the lyrics.
- Creating sound effects and a superhero theme tune using percussion instruments.
PE activities linked to Traction Man
How does Traction Man manage to be so dynamic and amazing? By keeping super fit and exercising of course! Each day the children completed a Fitness Profile of 5 exercises recording their scores.