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Friday Focus 051515

posted May 15, 2015, 11:10 AM by Michael Lepene   [ updated May 15, 2015, 12:36 PM ]

Frances C. Richmond Middle School Friday Focus
Friday, May 15 2015

lit circle photo

8th Grade WWII Lit Circle. Photo credit: Mrs. Dodds

+Principal’s Corner

Dear Parents/Guardians,

This week the Friday Focus includes a guest article from Becky Wiplfer, RMS Literacy Coordinator, which highlights the use of Literature Circles at each grade level. I hope you enjoy the look into this engaging format. Have a wonderful weekend.

Michael Lepene 


This year at RMS, students in grades 6-8 have participated in various iterations of Literature Circles. Literature Circles/Book Clubs have provided a chance for students to engage with peers, make connections (to their peers, other books, their lives, history, and current events), share responsibility, and think deeply about various aspects of literature such as character development, theme, etc.

All book options have directly related to a time period studied at each grade level: The Revolutionary War (6th grade), Pre-Civil War and Civil War (7th grade), and WWII (8th grade). Across all grades, the essential questions were similar: How does this book deepen/broaden your understanding of the time period? In what ways does the author convey historical information? 

Using historical fiction and nonfiction books to provide alternative/underrepresented perspectives from these time periods lends itself to a deeper understanding of history, and often leads to questions: What is history? Who creates the history we most often learn about? In what ways can we apply these new perspectives to our current understandings of this time period?

In a typical literature circle format, once a group is formed, students meet briefly to set up a schedule of how many pages to read by each meeting date. Students generally meet about four times: once a week for a month. Students are responsible for completing the reading and preparing for the meeting. Preparation may take the form of completing roles (director, summarizer, word wizard, literary luminary), and/or marking passages that may spark a question or a reaction that students wish to further discuss. Students are responsible for their own engagement and preparation, which is often a motivating factor for work completion. During book group meetings, students facilitate the discussions. 

Literature circles/book clubs at RMS have created opportunities for interdisciplinary discussions. Humanizing history through literature can deepen student understandings. One student shared, "It gave me a more real connection to the war. It made me realize that these were truly real people in the war."

Becky Wiplfer
RMS Literacy Coordinator and Reading Teacher

+All School News and Events (RMS web site has GoogleCal with events and dates/times)

Friday, May 15 - RMS School Play, 730p, RMS Auditorium

Tuesday, May 19 - Staff Appreciation Lunch (see note below)

Thursday, May 21 - Mega Concert, 7p, RMS

Monday, May 25 - Memorial Day, No School

Thursday, May 28 - 6th and 7th Grade RMS Spring Open House, 530p

Friday, May 29 - RMS School Dance, 7p, RMS

Wednesday, June 3 - RMS Quiz Bowl all-school event, 805a.

Friday, June 5 - RMS Colors Day Activities

Monday, June 15 - 8th Grade Class Night and Open House

Tuesday, June 16 - 8th Grade Class Trip and Last Day

Wednesday, June 17 - 6th and 7th Grade Last Day (Noon Dismissal)

+RMS Notes and Information

-The RMS Music Department's annual MEGA CONCERT is Thursday May 21st at 7PM in the RMS GYM. It features all choruses, bands, strings, and jazz band. Students should arrive at the school at 6:30PM for warm-up. Concert Dress: Shirts = Light and Colorful , shoulders covered no Logos. Any Color Pants, Skirts, Shorts - no Jeans or athletic pants or shorts. Any shoe, flip flop, or sandals. 

We look forward to sharing a wonderful program of music with you.
Please contact Mr. Hall, Ms. Leuthauser, or Ms. Rommer with any questions.


-A BIG thank you to all students, staff and families who participated in Walk & Bike to School Day promoting health and a greener community! We had a great turnout with over 300 people participating! We really lucked out with beautiful weather this year. Thank you to Lou's Bakery who donated donut coupons for all who participated! Thanks to Sarah Glass and several parents for leading biking groups. Missie Rodriguez and Abby Pelletier met students at the Rugby field which was really helpful. Thanks to Jill Blumberg and Catherine Patch for organizing the event. We are looking to improve next years Walk and Bike to School Days with more participating and lasting effects. We are interested in your feedback and ideas! Please email any ideas to Thanks! 

-We have completed the majority of our Smarter Balanced Assessment testing. Thank you to the staff and students for their flexibility and attention as we completed this new standardized assessment for the first time.

-(REPOST) 8th Grade End of Year Information available here. We also sent print copies home with each student this week. In this letter you will find information about the 8th Grade Class Night and the 8th Grade Trip, a trip permission slip, and information about the cost of the trip. Please contact your child's 8th grade homeroom teacher or the RMS office with any questions. 

-(REPOST) As the school year draws to a close, we want let the staff at RMS know how much we appreciate them! We will be serving lunch and holding a raffle for staff on TUESDAY MAY 19TH from 11:30am-2pm.  The lunch and raffle will recognize front office staff, teachers, ed assistants, cafeteria staff, custodians, support staff, guidance counselors, nurses, crossing guards and bus drivers. 

We would love your help! Please click

to add your name to the Google doc. Some suggested raffle item ideas are gift certificates, homemade gifts, car washes, farm fresh eggs, or movie tickets. Items can be sent in on MAY 19TH  with your child or can be dropped off in office by 11am.  

Any questions, please email or call 603-359-1881.

The staff really appreciates these celebrations.

Thank you! Kirsten Elin Richmond Community Group

-Last chance to see the RMS production of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" tonight at 730p. Congratulations to the entire cast!


+Community Calendar and Activities 

-SUMMER CAMP AT HARTFORD TECHNICAL CENTER: Hartford Technical Center will be offering Summer Tech Camp the week of June 22nd for students who are currently in 6th, 7th, or 8th grade. The cost of the program is $25, but scholarships are available. Students will participate in ten different programs, including learning about 4 cylinder engines, building bridges, computer coding, tie-dying, composting, making packages for the Haven, the science behind emulsions, DNA, paper airplanes, and welding. If there are more than five students going from RMS, it may be possible for us to arrange bus transportation from RMS to Hartford Technical Center. For more details about this great camp, please visit or contact Havah Armstrong at Hartford Tech. Please see the attached brochure for more details. 

-Empower Lacrosse Club:  Memorial Day Lacrosse Clinic!  2 - 5 pm for 5th - 12th grade girls (2 - 4 pm for 3rd-4th grades).  Register and more info

-Spanish Exchange Opportunity
A 14-year old Spanish boy would like to do an exchange this summer with a student in the Upper Valley. The family lives in Madrid, but also spends time in Asturias over the summer, and so your child would enjoy the opportunity to see many different aspects of life in Spain. The Spanish boy is active and flexible, and the family likes to organize many family events and excursions.
Please contact Sra. Prendergast ( if you are interested in this wonderful possibility.