January 28, 2015

PK1 RESOURCE FINDS - PART DUEX (AUGMENTED REALITY IN THE CLASSROOM)

It took me awhile to circle back around, but I am finally back to tell you about one more amazing resource that I discovered at the PK1 Conference.  This one is going to make your head spin.  I guarantee it.  

ALIVE STUDIOS - AUGMENTED REALITY
Have you ever stumbled across a new teaching resource that actually made your mouth hang open?  Well, one conference booth in particular did just this for little old me.  I was absolutely mesmerized by what I saw unfold at the Alive Studios booth. I knew I needed one of these to use with my students (it's already on order)!  

I got to hang with the Alive Studios gang.
Meet Cynthia (president and creator) and Faith!!
Alive Studios has created supplemental reading and curriculums infused with augmented reality for the classroom.  I'm talkin' 3-D reading and math programs that don't require glasses.  Yup . . . you heard me right, 3-D! This company has embedded high-tech graphics, sounds, and other highly-engaging elements into amazing software programs that provide kids with different ways to experience and interact with both math and reading.  

I must admit that this is SO difficult to put into words and I just can't do it justice.  Seriously folks . . . I was able to be a part of a handful of different software demonstrations for both Reading alive and Math alive and my wheels were turning so fast they nearly broke free.  Seeing is believing.  With this said, here is a quick video showing kiddos in action with their augmented reality programs.  Their reactions are priceless and the level of engagement absolutely takes my breath away. 




I had the opportunity to sit and chat with Cynthia (ceo and mastermind behind this amazing idea).  Her story just makes sense.  With access to just the right people and technology, she came up with a way to drive attention, capture imagination, and foster long-term learning in our youngsters in a very powerful way.  She is on a mission to provide young learners with the tools to become proficient in math and reading by the end of 3rd grade. 

I know what you are thinking . . . I thought the same thing.  Uh, how expensive is this program?  It's not as bad as you think.  This program is totally doable. Oh, AND . . . Alive Studios has thought of their teachers' pocketbooks. They provide support in the grant writing department.  They even offer up a ready-made letter (just needs your info) and support during the process.  Now, that's what I call a proactive company.  Also, I know our school has been given OODLES of cash from the state to implement CCSS programs and curriculum.  One of our focuses has been technology.  Well, you can bet that I shipped off the info on this software as soon as I got home from the conference.  Low and behold, the principals returned my email and want to sit down and chat more about these programs.  Snag the grant information HERE.

As soon as I get this in my classroom, I will be sharing success stories with you. I know there will be many.  If you are interested in learning more, click the image below to hit up the Alive Studios web site, where they share a bunch of other videos and tutorials on their software.  The possibilities with this product are ENDLESS and I cannot wait to get my hands on one.    


Thanks for taking the time to visit me today as I gushed about my favorite PK1 Conference find.  I hope you take a moment to check this company out. It's definitely worth your time.  Merry Wednesday, y'all.

January 25, 2015

FEBRUARY SENTENCE WRITING WARM-UPS + FREE TESTER PAGES

Alright, all you alls . . . I did it.  Oodles of people asked, and well . . . we aim to please over here at the Factory.  Yup.  I created a Growing Bundle for the Sentence Writing Warm-Ups.  They were such a hit in January, I just couldn't sit on these and not create a package deal.  


  

I have blogged about these on more than one occasion, so I will give you the abridged version of how these LEVELIZED sets work.  My crew is really struggling with writing this year.  More than 50% can't draft a quality sentence.  We aren't talking multiple sentence problems . . . I'm talking a SINGLE sentence.  I knew something had to change in the writing department as we just weren't reaching many these babes, but finding the time was easier said than done.  That's when the idea of Sentence Warm-Ups was born.    


Now, at this time, 50% of my class could draft a simple sentence.  However, their sentences lacked substance.  This is were the LEVELIZED part came into play.  Each monthly set comes with three different levels of daily sentence practice. Check out the breakdown below . . . 


These can be used as a morning job, transition after recess, or as a "ticket to lunch."  It takes my babes about 10 minutes (max) to complete these.  Oh, and there is always an "Early Finisher" challenge at the bottom of each page. The levelized aspect makes it perfect for the K or 1st grade classroom . . . and it also works oh so well for 2nd grade intervention.  

After doing these with my own crew for nearly a month now, I am a believer. This quick and easy daily practice has made a WORLD of difference already. Not only are our sweeties drafting better sentences, but their handwriting and finger spacing has improved hand over fist (another daily battle we face).  

So much for the "abridged" version, huh?  Well, I just can't help myself.  This is by far my favorite product that I have created and watching it lead to some serious academic growth has me on cloud nine.  BUT . . . you don't have to take my word for it.  How about a FREE TESTER PACK?  I have included three sheets for each level so you can try it over a series of days.  I suggest teaching the process once in small group and then transitioning it into whole class independent work the following day.  (Kinder may need a few more days.) What do you have to lose??  It's free . . . why not give it a try?



Alright, I will be quiet now.  Check out the GROWING BUNDLE or the FEBRUARY PACKET if you get a moment.  Thanks so much for taking the time to visit me.  I am working away on my February Math Games packet today . . . it should be up no later than Wednesday (fingers and toes crossed).  Enjoy your Sunday my friends.  It's going to be 76 here today.  I can't wait to open those windows and soak up this little pause in our winter!!!

January 21, 2015

PK1 CONFERENCE RESOURCE FINDS - PART I

Well, y'all . . . I am back from one of my favorite teacher conferences on the planet and I have some amazing goods to share.  This is going to be a two part installment as there were a handful of epic teacher goods up for grabs this year. Seriously, folks.  I was drooling all over myself.  I just have to share a few of my supa cool finds.  Here I be with Part I . . .   


SIMPLYCIRCLE
This is such a cool concept . . . a concept that just makes sense for EVERYONE involved.  Let me explain.  SimplyCircle is a FREE resource that helps groups of people communicate more efficiently.  As teachers, many of us have found that hard copy just doesn't cut it any more.  Notes aren't being read and the flow of information has started to break down.  


Knowing that notes aren't being read, my teaching partner and I use email as a way to send information (I am sure that many of you do too).  However, we have noticed that our communication is STILL not always reaching our intended target - PARENTS.  

The folks at SimplyCircle helped me understand why emails aren't always the best from of communication.  Think about all the emails that get buried in your inbox.  It happens to me all the time -- you read it at the stoplight or on recess break and forget all about responding or adding it to your calendar. Well, it's the same for parents.  I never really put the shoe on the other foot and thought about this simple notion.  I don't have kiddos of my own and I didn't realize how many streams of communication could be coming at a parent (especially those with more than one babe) . . . teachers, schools, coaches, scout leaders, etc. Once I stepped out of my bubble, the genius concept behind this simple program made immediate sense -- let's create one space for multiple streams of information to land.  


You see . . . parents can be in multiple circles and all of the information is funneled into their home page.  As a teacher, you can type in information and have emails sent that not only hit their inbox, but also store in their home page. This works for everything from field trip reminders and newsletters to volunteer opportunities and donation requests.  Parents can also use the site to communicate with one another . . . privately.  Yup, emails are NOT visible, but they can shoot messages to one another or the entire group when they are inside the circle.    

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to SimplyCircle.  This service does SO much more and I can only hope that I am doing this program justice. It truly is a great idea and is worth a click to learn a bit more -- HERE.  Take a peek at this brilliant program and see if it might just be the communication piece you are missing. What do you have to lose?  Try it.  It's FREE ;)


SHOW & TELL APRONS
Another amazing resource I stumbled across at last weekend's conference was Show & Tell Aprons.  These absolutely blew my mind and I had to order one! Just last week I was trying to organize a pocket chart lesson and my hanging charts were full.  I had to quickly pull one apart on my lunch break.  Too bad I didn't have my sweet Show & Tell Apron.  My problem would have been solved before it even begun.  Um, just take a look at these and tell me that you don't want one . . . 


The old "wheels" started churning as soon as I spied these.  The possibilities are absolutely endless :)

  • Addition Facts
  • Missing Addend
  • Subtraction Facts
  • Word Families
  • Sight Word Spelling
  • Vowel Teams
  • Simple Sentences
  • Parts of Speech
  • I could go on . . . and on . . . and on!

Well, my apron is in the mail and I can't wait to get my hands on it.  I love a good pocket chart lesson and this just took my obsession to a whole new level. I just know the kiddies are going to dig it too!!! CLICK HERE to check out these aprons in a bit more detail.

I ordered this one . . . SWOON!
Alright, so there you have it . . . my first installment of favorite PK1 Conference finds.  I will be back soon with Part 2 :)  

On a final note tonight, this past weekend was such a blast and it filled the old teaching bucket to the brim!  I had the best time presenting and hanging with all of my blogging buddies.  A HUGE THANK YOU to all of the A07 attendees. I hope you had a good time and were able to walk away with a game or two to use with your crew.  See you next year, PK1 :)




January 10, 2015

FIVE FOR FRIDAY -- SOME SHENANIGANS & CHANGES

Merry Weekend!  We made it and we're still standing.  That first week back in the saddle is always so tough.  I absolutely love seeing all of the little kiddies and getting back into the swing again, but boy this week sure does have you runnin' to keep up.  I managed to reestablish a amicable relationship with my alarm (only one spotty patch on Tuesday when I didn't hit snooze . . . I reset the thing for 20 minutes later after quickly deciding that I didn't need to wash my hair).  How did y'all do this week?? 

I am excited to be sittin' down to share some of the fun we had.  I swear our little babes grew 10 feet over the break.  Do you feel that way too?  This vacation turns your little babies into cute kids.  It's so funny how this miraculous growth always seems to happen around the holidays . . . but, I digress.  Here is a little look-see at what the crew and I have been up too.  

ONE - SENTENCE WRITING WARM-UPS
Are you sick of me talking about this yet??  I know . . . I did a whole blog post on it earlier this week, but we actually tried these this week and it was better than I could have EVER imagined.  Seriously, folks.  I am not trying to toot my own horn here, but this low-prep levelized writing set has changed my life. We are using these as our Good Morning Job.  However, it fits easily into any transition time.  



On our first day back, I explicitly taught what I wanted to see in a small group setting.  I knew better than to try and teach three levels whole class . . . especially with all my "listening-challenged" sweeties :)  Some kiddos used a word bank to create their own detailed sentences, some took a basic sentence and added details, and others simply copied a basic sentence.  I highly recommend doing it this way on the first day!  

LEVEL 2 - ADD DETAILS TO A SENTENCE
Swoon . . . adjectives!!!
 
Every page comes with a challenge for your early finishers.
This page asked kids to find the word WERE in the sentence,
write it 5 times, and illustrate their sentence.
If they didn't finish the back . . . no big deal.
The next day this quick page became their morning task.  It was so successful and the kids loved it.  Every day they got a little bit better at rocking these out. I am one happy teacher.  


I let my kids write crazy sentences.
I don't promote it, but I don't make them change it.
Different strokes for different folks, but I dig silly.
"My mom made hot snot booger balls for lunch." (My favorite from the week!)
She fixed the capital problem right after this photo ;)
Yes, we stick our tongues out a lot in Room 13 :)
This shows LEVEL 1 (copy the sentence) and LEVEL 3 (use the word bank).
LOOK . . . they have finger spaces!!!!  #itsthelittlevictories
If you want to try these, I have a FREE TESTER SET up for grabs HERE.  I heard this link might not be working (Dropbox limits downloads).  If this is the case . . . try this ONE. You can try them two days in a row and see if you experience the same writing magic. If you do, come on back and treat yourself to the January Collection. They were designed for K-1 and 2nd Grade Intervention.


This packet comes with 25 pages for each level (75 total warm-ups).
It's a whole month of differentiated learning for only $4!!!
Check out the collection HERE.

TWO - WHITE BOARD MATH
We jumped into the higher-level Place Value this week.  Before I even gave them any manipulatives, I had them practice their number writing.  This class is unlike any other group that I have had in the past 9 years.  It's sad, but 75% of the crew is below benchmark in reading and 50% are below basic in math.  We are working our tails off to come up with fun activities that keep their attention (easier said than done).  White board math is always a great way to hook them into a concept and sneak in a bit of spiral review.  I always give them about 2-3 minutes to draw BEFORE we begin.  I looked up and a whole table group was working on a sweet farm scene together. #blesstheirlittlehearts




THREE - A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS
I had a little of help from my friends this week.  As I was snagging pictures, I noticed that many different bloggers were hanging out in Room 13 throughout this 5-day run!  Here are just a few . . .  


Teaching With Love & Laughter
New Year Goals FREEBIE
The Moffatt Girls
We worked on oodles of pages from her January No-Prep Packs (K+1st)
Let's be honest here.  I have most of Annie's packs and I love them ALL.
A Year of Many Firsts
We jumped into winter this week.
I forgot to take pictures, but we used a ton from Lyndsey's Snow Pack!!!

FOUR - WHOLE30 MIRACLE
Alright . . . so a new year means resolutions and I made some.  The biggest one was jumping on the WHOLE30 train.  Yup, I did it.  It wasn't to lose weight (a few pounds maybe), but I jumped on board in desperation - to help me manage my endless gut issues.  With four abdominal surgeries tucked tightly under my belt (three directly connected to the digestive system), I struggle with food all of the time.  Things constantly make me sick despite being gluten and dairy free most of the time (I snuck bites off of my hubby's plate all too often).  Well, I was sick of the 3 to 7 pm stomach ache that visited like clockwork each and every day.  I saw Erica Bohror's Facebook post on trying this program and quickly recalled the success that Rachelle Smith had with this method. When Erica asked me to join a group of teachers who decided to go "all in," I decided to give it a go. 


I am not in cahoots with these guys {PROMISE} . . .
just wanted to share my success :)
I'll be honest here, on Day One and Two I hated both of these ladies for a moment and I almost quit.  I had a headache like no other and the cravings were off the chain . . . right at back to school time (ouch). However, by Day Three a magical turn around began.  The headaches were gone.  It was easier to wake up in the morning and my tummy was in check. By Day Five I actually cried. Tears of JOY I tell you.  I felt the best I have felt in 6 LONG ASS years and it gets better ever day - no afternoon naps needed, I sleep through the night, I can go longer at the gym, I wake up fresh and before my alarm, my digestive issues are in check . . . the benefits go on and on for little old me. I'm now on DAY 7 and am loving it!  #bringitremaining23

The WHOLE30 is hard as all get out at times as you are trying to change how your body reacts to food and cravings, but it has completely changed my life. I am a believer!  I will be making serious changes when my month long run with the program ends.  A huge thank you to both Erica and Rachelle. I wouldn't have known the life that was possible without your support.  I know I sound a bit crazy, but I don't care.  If you are thinking about this program, I strongly urge you to TRY IT . . . what do you have to loose?  

FIVE - PK1 CONFERENCE
I am so excited to be presenting at the upcoming PK1 Conference in Santa Clara, California.  It's next weekend.  Are you going??  If not, and you live in Cali, you should CLICK HERE to take a closer look.  This conference is always so much fun and there are oodles of my favorite bloggers going to be there. 


CLICK HERE to learn more about this awesome conference!
Ron Brown's Intelli-Tunes is also going to be presenting (D-01).  Ron and Nancy put on a heck of a show and it's a definite class to catch.



I am presenting right out of the gate on Saturday (A-07).  I have been working on my CCSS math games/activities presentation for the past three days.  I am running WAY TO LONG, but at least that's better than too short.  I have some "tightening" to do today!  



Alright my friends, that's it from me today.  Goodness me . . . was I a talker or what??  I guess I just missed ya.  Big hugs to you and I'll see you soon with a little somethin' - somethin' :)



January 7, 2015

MEET A KINDERGARTEN LOVE STORY . . . A BRAND NEW BLOGGER

Well, hello . . . on a Wednesday nonetheless!  Not my normal bloggin' pattern these days, but I am trying to stick with my New Year's goal of blogging more often.  Let's be honest.  I kinda fell off of the wagon for a bit in 2014 (whoops). Well, I'm a climbin' back on I tell ya!  

On that note, I wanted to introduce you to a wonderful teacher who just started blogging and selling on TPT.  She's a fellow NorCal gal who is finding her Blogger stride. I have known Brittany Jones for years as her dad was my high school class advisor . . . small world, huh??  Well, I can't tell you enough nice things about Miss Brittany.  She has an infectious personality, an upbeat attitude that lights up any room, and an amazing passion for teaching that absolutely oozes out of her.  Britt is definitely one to keep an eye on.  

  

With out further ado, I bring you an introductory post from Brittany at A Kindergarten Love Story!

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Hello out there!! My name is Brittany and I am so excited to be a guest blogger on my sweet friend Kelley’s blog. I want to share with you a little “get to know me” information before I dive right in and share with y’all my three absolute favorite ways to reinforce sight words.

I have been teaching kindergarten for the past three years and I absolutely love it! Seeing the change and progress from the first day of kindergarten to the last day is probably one of my favorite things about my job.

Now on to the good stuff! Sight words can be tricky to teach. I have found that repetition, constant use, and manipulation of the words is the best way to ensure that they really stick. Here are three fun and different ways that I teach sight words.

HIDDEN SIGHT WORD PAGE
This is probably my kiddos favorite activity to do. Using magnifying glasses, the kids search on their worksheet for sight words that are hidden all over the page. The words are extremely tiny and they can only be seen with a magnifying glass. When they find a sight word, I let them use a highlighter to circle it. Then I have them record all the words they find on their sheet (a kindergarten common core standard). This is a quick, fun, and easy to prep station that will be sure and delight your kiddos.



SECRET SIGHT WORD
I made these fun little worksheets as a quick and easy station to use during my language arts rotations. I copy the worksheet onto cardstock and use a white color crayon I write a sight word in the middle. The kiddos then have to use their watercolors and paint over the blank space to reveal a hidden sight word. After they are done, they write a sentence using that sight word. They love it because they don’t know which word they are going to get, and they get to use watercolors, which is always a big hit in our classroom.




SIGHT WORD SALSA
This one is an absolute blast to do! It requires little to no prep and gets the kiddos up and moving and grooving. All I do is take pieces of scratch paper and put one piece on every desk. Then I give each of my little guys a marker. The rules are simple.  When the salsa music is on, they dance and shimmy across the classroom. When the music stops, they freeze, read the sight word aloud that I am holding up for them to see and then quickly go to a desk where there is a piece of paper and write down that sight word as many times as they can until the music starts playing again. It is absolutely hilarious to watch because a lot of them get really into the dancing part and sometimes don’t even realize the music has stopped. We keep playing and dancing until I have gone through all of our sight words.

Both sight word worksheets are available and the best part is they are freebies!! Click HERE to add these files to your collection.  

I hope you like what you have read today and that I have given you some fun and new ideas on how to teach and reinforce sight words in your classroom.  If you want more tips, pop on over to Kindergarten Love Story for a visit.

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Well, there you have it my friends.  I hope you enjoyed Brittany's post as much as I did . . . I am SO trying out that Salsa thing next week :)  If you like what you saw today, be sure to pop on over, follow, and maybe even say hello if you have time.  Thanks gang . . . I'll see you soon.


January 4, 2015

BUILD BETTER WRITERS - DAILY SENTENCE WARM-UPS + TESTER PAGES

Well, it's here folks.  The last day of our glorious vacation.  It's been a marvelous 2 weeks off and I can't complain.  We went to Reno, ate the most amazing meals, saw oodles of friends, and had such fun with the family. However, when that alarm clock sounds at 5:15 tomorrow, it's time to get back to business.  Oh, how I will miss rotting in my PJs and working on the computer until 3 or 4 pm, but I am ready to see those smiling faces and try some new things in Room 13!   

On that note, let me share one of the NEW things I am super excited to try tomorrow.  When I met my teaching partner down at school over the break, we both agreed that many of our little writers are not "blossoming" like they should during this time of year.  We already have writing instruction and practice embedded throughout our schedule, but we need MORE.  However, easier said than done!  Here's the conundrum . . . we have a class of 25 very "spirited" kids and a jam-packed schedule that ties our hands quite a bit.  So, we came up with a daily LEVELIZED sentence writing warm-up that's quick, easy, and NO PREP.   


Here's how it's going to roll come Monday.  When the kiddos arrive each day, a LEVELIZED (there's that key word again) will serve as their morning job. They will have about 10 minutes to get 'er done as well as take care of the usual morning business (lunch count, turn in folders, put backpack away, etc). I think it is going to be just the ticket for our crew!  Now, morning isn't the ONLY time you can roll with these warm-ups.  I see this working oh so well right after recess, right after lunch, or as a "ticket to lunch."

Now, I kept mentioning the word LEVELIZED.  It sure is a beautiful word, isn't it??!  Well, I keep droppin' this little term as the collection was designed to target meaningful instruction to each and every child in your class.  There are THREE levels of sentence warm-ups hiding in this pack - beginning, emerging, and developing.  Here's a little more on what each level entails . . . 


I made each level "look" the same as to not single kiddos out . . . tricky teacher over here!!!  The first level is for your below-level crew. It's super sight word heavy and I attempted to draft basic decodable sentences.  The emerging set ups the ante and targets on-level kiddos.  They need to add details to a basic sentence. Finally, the third level is for your above-level sweeties.  It asks kids to incorporate three words from a word bank.  I am really going to push my top kids to give me a complex and detailed sentence!!!!

We all have fast finishers in our rooms.  Well, I planned for these kids as well. Each level has a Super Sentence Challenge listed at the bottom of the page. The first two levels focus on sight words, while the last asks for a second sentence. If they finish this too, I am going to ask students to illustrate their sentence on the back of the page.  How ya like them sharpened pencils??

Here's a sample of the back of a Level 2 sheet.

On that note, I am just about out of here.  However, maybe you would like to try these with your crew before you invest?  I put together a little sample pack that includes two days of warm-up sheets (all three levels).  If you like what unfolds in your room, come on back and treat yourself to the whole packet (it's a month's worth of levelized learning for only $4). A new warm-up packet will be released each month -- I am making them as we go this year.  

CLICK HERE to snag the FREE sheets!!!
Alright, that's it for today.  To check out the whole January Sentence Writing Warm-Up packet, CLICK HERE.  I am off to work on my math games presentation for the upcoming PK1 Conference in Santa Clara, California (MLK Weekend is right around the corner).  Enjoy your last day my friends . . . I will see you again soon.  Thanks for visiting.  

January 2, 2015

MATH GAMES GALORE . . . HANDS ON FUN JUST FOR JANUARY!

Happy New Year my friends.  I have no idea where the past 365 went, but it was a great run.  I am excited to see what the next round brings.

The New Year always signifies a fresh start in the classroom for me.  With this said, I really thought about what my crew needs to get going in the math department.  Our afternoons are painfully long (our lunch is at 11 now . . . this change was a blow for sure) and it is everything we can do to keep 'em engaged.  The math block has suffered, but that's about to change.  

I bring you my latest collection of Math Station Activities, Games, & More. It is jam-packed with 13 ditties to keep babes hooked in and learning (especially during those LONG afternoons).  I also wanted something that required little prep and not too much ink ;)


This month tackles everything from place value to fact families and missing addends.  I tried to use oodles of different items to make these activities game-like and fun (items that you have laying around your classroom BTW). Here is a little peek at some of the games . . . 

This game is high-level, but with a mommy helper manning the station, I see this one as oh so valuable!  The kids roll two 10-sided dice and hunt for a circle on the board that contains a number that is greater than the number they rolled.  (You can also change it up and have them look for a number that is less than . . . I'm all about options!)


Our babes are still really struggling with place value.  With this said, I tried to solve this problem by creating some basic place value ditties that will help 'em catch on . . . while having a bit of fun.  Here's one of them . . . 


Our math program introduces 3-digit addition . . . GULP!!!  To ease the kiddos into the process, I created a fun snow-themed game to help them look for those easy "first adds."


We need more practice with fact fluency.  So . . . here's a small group game that I know our kids will eat up!  We are going to get lots of leverage out of this one little activity.  


These are just a handful of the activities that you will find hiding in this packet. One game incorporates marshmallows to help kiddos visualize counting by 10s on a 120 Chart . . . it's my favorite!!!  This collection even comes with a song from Ron Brown's Intelli-Tunes (MP3 & lyrics are included in the download)! We are introducing Doubles + 1 this month . . . and I just couldn't pass up using his awesome song!


Alright . . . so there you have it.  My January Math Activities & More Packet. It's on sale through Saturday.  Click HERE to check out more deets!


Thanks for visiting.  I am hoping to be back soon with a little sentence writing warm up packet.  Fingers . . . toes . . . and nose hairs crossed!!!!  Hugs and Merry 20-15, y'all!

 

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