Celebrating the #hourofcode at @IonaPrimary

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The Hour of Code is a global event involving millions of students from over 180 countries. During the week of Dec 3-12, students (and teachers) around the world are encouraged to spend an hour learning how to problem solve, create, and collaborate with code. Not every child is destined to be a coder; however, we believe that the fundamental skills they learn through coding can make a real difference later in life.

YouTube: https://youtu.be/nKIu9yen5nc

Here at Iona PS, we took the opportunity to introduce students in Year 2, 3 4, and 5 to coding via http://code.org, robotics, and a variety of age-appropriate iPad coding apps. We were delighted by students’ extremely positive response to the Hour of Code. Many are already looking forward to coding activities next year!

Learning how to control Sphero
ScratchJr proved incredibly popular (and powerful)!
The Year 4’s loved the Minecraft Hour of Code Challenge
The certificates went down well too!

“We believe you don’t have to be a boy to be good at robotics!” – LEGO Robotics 2016

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Earlier this term, Mr Graffin, and several Year 5 girls attended the WA tournament of the FIRST LEGO League (FLL), held at Curtin University. Run by FIRST Australia, this tournament is part of a national and international student robotics competition which focuses on high level problem solving, critical thinking, coding, and finding solutions to real world problems, such as natural disasters, and trash.


Today, we are delighted to announce that our upper primary robotics girls have been successful in their application for a FIRST LEGO League Robotics grant. Awarded by FIRST Australia in partnership with Google, the FLL grant includes a LEGO EV3 Mindstorms robot, a practice challenge kit, and free FLL registration -worth about $1200.

At this stage, we plan to take at least one team of Year 6 girls to the FLL 2016 competition. More details on this exciting opportunity will be released at the start of the 2016 school year. Stay tuned!

We would like to thank Tim Keely, from Curtin University Engineering Outreach, for inspiring our girls’ successful application to compete in the FIRST LEGO League.


Indonesian Cultural Visit from Iona Presentation College

On Monday, a group of Year 7 Indonesian Immersion students from Iona Presentation College visited our Year 3, 4 and 5 classes, introducing students to Indonesian culture. The students taught the children a traditional game called congklak, which is played with a wooden game board. They also played a game called “Bing, Bang, Bong”, exploring how to count in Indonesian.

In 2016, Iona PS will be trialling the introduction of Cultural Studies, which will involve the teaching of Indonesian culture and language from PP to Year 6.

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Iona girls shine on the national and international stage

The Future Problem Solving Program at Iona in 2015 proved to be highly successful. Iona, as National Champions, represented Australia in 2015 at the International Conference in Iowa, finishing 24th from 57 teams.


Mr John Hughes, once again, has been a very generous sponsor of our students enabling them to have the opportunity to compete against the best in the world. We were so proud to have Mr Hughes address our FPS/ Opti-MINDS Assembly, reminding us of the importance of backing one’s own judgement. At the assembly, Mr Hughes presented our students with certificates, recognising their outstanding achievements. We would like to thank Mr Hughes once again for his support.

Our Year 6 FPS team also competed at National Finals in Brisbane this year. The girls finished 3rd in Australia and were invited to compete at the International Conference 2016 in Michigan, USA. Our MAGIC competitior attained 1st place. A wonderful effort by all the girls!

Not to be outdone, our Opti-MINDS teams also proved that the pursuit of excellence often results in success. Our three teams all made State Finals. Science Engineering received State Honours, and our Language Literature and Social Sciences teams won the State Finals. These two teams were invited to compete at the National Finals in Brisbane. Both teams received Australian Honours and a silver medal for their second place finish. What a great year!

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Happy Presentation Day!


We wish all the Presentation Sisters a wonderful Feast Day today. It was such a wonderful opportunity for us to celebrate Mass with Iona Presentation College this morning. To see our beautiful Iona students from Year 1 through to Year 10 coming together in the presence of the Sisters was very warming.

For families new to the school, the rich traditions of the Presentation Sisters are entwined in our school culture. The Presentation story stretches back to the mid 1700’s when Nano Nagle and her companions, moved by the poverty that existed in Ireland at thet time, started schools for the poor. Nano was aware of the plight of the children, particularly the girls, who were often abused and mistreated. At the time, education for Catholic children was illegal and Nano and her colleagues risked considerable punishment for breaking the English law of the time.

Nano spent her life working for the poor and underprivileged, particularly in education. Today, Iona Presentation Primary School stands as a testament to the charism of Nano Nagle and the Presentation Sisters through the values of excellence, compassion, hospitality and justice. As a school, we strive to deliver excellence through our curriculum, a sense of justice in our dealings with others, compassion through our outreach programs and a warm and welcoming community for all.

We send all our prayers and best wishes to the Presentation Sisters on this special day.

A Robot Fashion Show, Circuits, & Carrot Pianos – Open Night Showcase

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Last week, we launched our new Makerspace program as part of the 2015 Open Night celebrations. Well over a hundred students, parents, and community members visited our pop-up space, learning how to program Beebot robots, explore iPad coding apps, tinker with LittleBits™ circuits, and play with the MakeyMakey™ carrot pianos. The highlight of the night was undoubtably the Robot Fashion Show, featuring one of the first Dash™ robots in Western Australian schools, hosted by Desert and Jacqui, Iona’s first Year 6 Digital Captains.

The establishment of our makerspace is in response to the introduction of the new WA Technologies Curriculum (over the next two years), and national and international movements to empower students’ interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM). Many of our new maker tools, including our robots and greenscreen, were purchased with the generous support of the Iona Parents and Friends Association. 

We look forward to formally opening our new makerspace in the library at the start of Term 4. It promises to become a hub of creativity, imagination, and wonder as our students explore their emerging interests in robotics, design, and engineering projects.

Tinker, Code, Invent, Learn – Introducing our new Makerspace

As part of our Open Night 2015 celebrations, we will be unveiling our plans & resources for the new Iona Primary Makerspace, which will be based in the library from Term 4.

As the name suggests, a makerspace is a place where our students can ‘make’ things – with code, cardboard, craft materials, robots, and much more! It will host design challenges and hands-on creative projects, helping to foster and develop our students’ interests in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the arts.

On Thursday, September 10th, we will be hosting a pop-up maker event in the Blue Room (between the Year 5 and Year 6 classrooms) from 4-6PM.

Parents, students, and community members are invited to come in to tinker, code, invent, and learn. Explore coding with Beebots and iPads, tinker with LittleBits, build something with K’Nex, and play the MakeyMakey piano with fruit and vegetables! In addition, our Year 6 Digital Captains are looking forward to hosting a very special event, which is best described as “Robot Fashion Week”!

We would like to thank the Iona P&F for their generous support for this project. With their help, we were able to purchase our new greenscreen, Beebots, several MakeyMakey invention kits, and one of the first Dash robots in Western Australia.

If you’d like a sneak preview of what will be on show on Open Night, please explore the photos and videos below!



MakeyMakey kits & our Bee-Bots!

Dash Robot



Open Night


Schools are busy places (as I particularly discovered this week). Today, for the first time, I had a calendar that was not chock full of meetings. Relief, I thought! Time to catch up on some of that paperwork that has been slowly accumulating on my desk (my inexperience is definitely showing). Then the dreaded phone call – some Year One students would like to show me their work. After looking at the growing pile of papers on my desk, I reluctantly said I was available. Within 5 minutes, my quiet office (still with the pile of papers on my desk) was transformed into a vibrant hub of activity as excited ‘little people’ showed me their spelling words and beautiful handwriting. The excitement and pride in their work was so evident that I felt guilty about even thinking that this was just another interruption to my day.

There are lots of sayings that beautifully encapsulate this ‘busyness’ that takes over our lives – ‘take time to smell the roses’ or ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’ are just two.   Sometimes, I think you need to take a step backward to see clearly what is important so that you can move forward. Thank you Year One, for enlightening me on what is really important.

As a community, we have a busy week ahead. In particular, I’d like to invite parents to become involved in the Strategic Planning Meeting scheduled for Tuesday evening from 6.30 – 8.00pm. This is an opportunity for parents to tell us what they value about Iona and assist us in looking at new directions. Even if you have not responded that you are coming, everyone is most welcome to turn up on the night.

Our Open Night is on this Thursday. We have lots happening around the school on this night – from concerts, to Book Fairs, to technology displays, to a sausage sizzle (and we haven’t even mentioned your child’s classroom yet). Please see the website/Facebook page for more details.

We have a special whole school Mass organised for Tuesday 8th September – a celebration of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Parents are most welcome to join us in celebrating this Liturgy of the Eucharist as a faith-filled community.

Lastly (but definitely not the least important), congratulations to the girls who participated in the Future Problem Solving competition earlier in the term. We have just been notified that they have gone through to the Nationals and will be off to Brisbane to compete in October. Well done, girls!

Mrs Jennifer Anderson

Derby Weekend

Dear Parents

It is wonderful to watch the school spring into life with the enthusiastic coming together of students, parents and teachers each morning.  We are blessed to have such an inviting community.  The charism of the Presentation Sisters is alive and well in the school and we pray that we continue to be Presentation people in all we say and do.

On Saturday 15 August we celebrate The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This feast day celebrates Mary’s Assumption into heaven and the Church has made this a holy day of obligation. Mary loved God and always trusted in Him, doing all that God would want of her. Although she became the Mother of Jesus, Mary was a simple woman who lived according to the customs and traditions of her Jewish faith. On the Feast of the Assumption, we remember and celebrate that Mary was taken into heaven, body and soul, by God. This special privilege was given to her because of her sinless life and total trust in God.  May we follow Mary in her true selfless faith in God.

Thank you to all the students and teachers who dressed in their footy colours today.  The money raised by the children will support one of the Sister’s charities.  I’m not biased, but I’m sure that purple outnumbered blue/gold at least 3 to 1 (I won’t mention the few Hawthorn supporters who managed to slip past me this morning before I could bolt the gate).

To all our families, may you have a wonderful derby weekend…GO DOCKERS!

Jennifer Anderson