Middle School Information
Our school exists to help sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students grow academically, socially, and emotionally in preparation for high school, college, and life beyond.
A Message From Our Principal
Dear Middle School Families,
Happy holidays to all our University Bulldog families! As we wrap up our last month of the first semester, I would like to commend the efforts of our school community. A big thank you and pat on the back go out to parents, students, and all staff for making this school a success. I can say, without hesitation, that our school remains special because of the people involved. Thank you.
At the end of October, we celebrated Red Ribbon Week. Our counselors did a great job of raising student awareness about drugs and alcohol, and our students learned the effects of both. Students signed pledges and had thought-provoking discussions. The school brought in a speaker named Ethan Fisher who shared personal life struggles and talked about choices. It was well-presented, and you could hear a pin drop in the gymnasium. Before Thanksgiving break, we also ran a Be Thankful campaign. Students had the opportunity to take some time and reflect on who and what they were thankful for. Students put these on special paper, and we displayed them on our bulletin boards around the school for all to see.
Here at the middle school, we have started a homework help every Wednesday after school in room 177. It is available from 3:15–4:15 p.m. We welcome all middle school students.
Don’t forget to check your calendars for upcoming events. Choir and band students will be hosting the SnowShow! concert on December 17. Choir students will perform at 5:00 p.m., and band students will perform at 7:00 p.m. The last school day before winter break is Friday, December 21.
From all our staff here at UMS, have a great holiday season!
Middle School Principal
Are your kids spending too much time playing mindless computer games? Encourage them to use their minds and write their own computer games instead. Of course, they probably won’t be cranking out a competitor to “Angry Birds” right away, but that doesn’t mean kids won’t love to write programs. Just because they can’t play basketball like Michael Jordon doesn’t stop them from loving to play basketball. Computer programming is powerful and fun, and kids don’t need to become professional programmers to learn from the activity. Computer programming teaches kids problem solving, logical (computational) thinking, and determination, and it fosters creativity. The best part is you don’t have to know anything about computer programming to get your kids started. You simply head to the Internet for the software of your choice.
Scratch (a programming language developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and supported by the National Science Foundation) is a free, fun, visual, programming language for kids from third grade on up. They can create games, interactive stories, animations, music, and art. They simply drag and drop the code blocks onto the programming area, and then they can instantly see the result. The different commands snap together. This avoids all the frustrating syntax errors of typing computer code while keeping all the mind expanding experiences of computer programming. You can view this short video to see what Scratch can do.
Kodu (sponsored by Microsoft Research FuseLabs) is another free visual programming language for kids. It has a very specific video game focus. Kids begin with their own story and develop the characters, worlds, and actions to tell their story as a video game. In Kodu the programming code is icon based. Kodu, which is Windows based, also has an Xbox 360 version available for a fee of 400 Points (about $5).
Ladybug Mazes (part of a Utah State University collection of interactive math manipulatives) introduces the concept of computer programming to kids as young as kindergarten. Kids make a plan for the ladybug to follow by choosing step blocks and turn blocks, which appear at the bottom of the screen. When they click the play button, the ladybug follows the command blocks they have chosen. Most kindergarteners need help getting started, but they generally catch on quickly. Kids can play Ladybug Mazes online for free.
Programming software designed for kids is a great way to move your student from game player to game designer, from consumer to producer. Try one today; you will be glad you did.