I like to play a game where they play rhythm lines on two notes and go back and forth everytime the note changes. "Did we all finish on the same note"
Once they move into 7th/8th grade my goal is to be able to move efficiently in at least 4 to 6 different keys. We do tons of exercises so they understand the important notes in those keys. We learn more scales but my goal is to learn how key signature effect the technique. Hopefully they become more comfortable working in those keys and it becomes easier as they graduate into high school.
During this time, we continue adding rhythm and find pieces of music that reinforce those rhythms.
I have noticed that working interval studies really helps the brass not miss harmonics. I do those religiously.
We combine that basic information while working on ensemble skills. They can read every note and rhythm correctly but if they don't do it as an ensemble, it doesn't really matter.
I don't worry too much about the UIL SR process until the spring. We bring out old UIL tunes. For middle school, it's all about confidence and appearance. They need to understand that every little bit matters....sitting correctly, following the music, not getting distracted.
We practice entering and exiting. We make sure students are not looking around the room, even if a judge walks around during explanation.
Our warmup note is Concert F and the brass plan to know the interval from that note to their first note of the selection so they aren't on the wrong pitch (very important for young horn players)
My thoughts were a little scattered but I hope this helps.