Middle School Technology

Middle school students have one period of technology instruction per week, for one trimester.  6th grade students have technology class in the fall trimester, 8th grade in the winter, and 7th grade in the spring.

6th and 7th grade students learn computer programming using the Scratch programming language.  Scratch is a teaching language designed by MIT specifically for making programming fun and engaging for new learners.  It has specific features and a drag-and-drop LEGO-like design tooling which makes it easy to create animated videos and games.

8th grade students learn computational thinking and programming using the Lua programming language as supported by the ComputerCraftEDU Minecraft mod.  Learn more about how we are using Minecraft in the classroom.

Technology is not graded on the A, B, C, D, F scale and does not impact a student’s grade point average.  It is graded on the following scale:

I:  Improvement Needed.  Work is incomplete or very far from meeting minimum expectations.  Most work turned in in this state will also be flagged as “Incomplete” in PowerSchool

P:  Progress Shown.  Work is close but not fully meeting minimum expectations.

M:  Meets expectations.  Work fulfills all minimum expectations

E:  Exceeds Expectations:  Work fulfills all minimum expectations, demonstrates creativity, high quality, and additional features beyond the minimum.

Each assignment has specific guidance on what is required to meet the minimum as well as exceed expectations.  Students in grades 6 and 7 are expected to complete at least 3 assignments meeting minimum requirements.

When reviewing grades in PowerSchool, ignore any points or percentages it displays for Tech Class.  Just the E – M – P – I grade matters, as well as any flags such as those which indicate late or missing assignments.

Intro to Scratch


6th and 7th Grade Student Accounts on the Scratch Website

All students in grades 6 and 7 are required to create and use an account on the Scratch website to complete, submit, and share their technology class assignments.  In addition to expectations for compliance with St. John Technology Use Policy (see the Family Handbook), students are instructed to avoid the use of any personal information such as their name in their Scratch account and shared projects.

We are now using special Scratch accounts and a classroom page on the Scratch website to manage our work.  These Scratch accounts are setup by students using an invitation URL provided by Mr. James in class.  These accounts have student-specified passwords but do not have an associated email address.  Shared projects are still publicly visible and students may interact with others on the Scratch website just like a regular account holder.  As the teacher for the online classroom, Mr. James can reset passwords.