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        This year I will be primarily teaching ELAR (English/Language Arts and Reading) at the 8th grade level.  My first goal is to help students become better readers and writers.  Our studies will include novels and short stories as a source of inspiration for student writing.  I will strive to help struggling readers enjoy reading and struggling writers enjoy writing.  I think this is the greatest challenge.  Students who struggle in ELAR often have created an emotional wall that protects them from engaging in these subjects.  New effort will be needed if students hope to overcome their fears and disappointments. Inspiring students to give that new effort will be an ongoing task.  I hope parents understand the frustration their students sometimes feel with subjects in which they struggle.  Parents can support the teacher by encouraging their students to continue to try.  I have found that learning often takes place in huge leaps when simple concepts suddenly are understood.  I hope that some students this year will make that leap by determined focus on improvement.