Saturday, December 31, 2011

Party Hardy!!!! {Or just stay in your pj's and grab this *freebie*}

Happy New Year!!!!!!

I know you all have really, really big plans so that's why I'm quickly squeezing in this blog post so you can read it, download and move on to your big party plans.


If you're like me, you can wait 'til Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve, and download then - just be careful you don't get any queso dip on the keyboard.  That'd be mighty tricky to clean out...

I've been thinking about my New Years Resolution post and decided I want a redo. If you're a person who thinks like wonder why you would make resolutions when all you do is break them or conveniently forget about them.  OR you decide "I'm not going to make resolutions I'm going to make lifestyle changes....that way they'll stick with me for the rest of my life".  I've tried to change my lifestyle and it works, for a little while, but never really should read Farley's post One Little Word

I love when I read or hear about something that so clearly make sense to me.  It's one of those moments where you wonder where this or that has been...why it didn't jump out at you earlier in your life. 

So, I've been mulling over which word will be my OLW for the year.  When I find it, I'll know it.  I'm not going to rush it.  I'm going to marinate a few and see what I think. Once I figure it out I'm going to use some cute scrapbook paper and display my word at home, school and in the car. What I like about finding OLW is that, for me, if chosen carefully and thoughtfully it can emcompass SO much. 

I'll keep thinking - and if you're interested, read Farley's blog, and then report back to me if you find the perfect word for you or you can keep it secret until the January Currently...

One activity I plan on doing our first week back comes from Cara Carroll over at The First Grade Parade

In the hat I plan on having them write their One Little Word and will have them write their "school goal" on the form below.  I made another form just in case you'd rather have them write their resolutions on their hat and do their one little word on the form. I like either one.  I'm an "on a whim" kinda teacher sometimes so I could very well change my mind...I thought I would have them also write their One Little Word on a desk tag and adhere that to their desks as a little reminder.  I plan on sharing my One Little Word with the class and show them how I plan on making it cute, and placing it in various places: school, home, car, etc. 

New Year School Goal

Frame from Tracee Orman

Here's the One Little Word Version

And the One Little Word Desk Tags

Thanks so much blog friends for breathing life into my teaching, thank you for helping me end 2011 on such a sweet, sweet note.  I look foward to sharing ideas in 2012!!!

Happy, Happy New Year!!!!

ETA: My pal, Kelley, over at Buggy For Second Grade is giving away the cutest wreath ever {that she made}.  You'll want to check it out, follow and enter!!!!


Friday, December 30, 2011

The Best Beginning for The Best Endings *New Blog* {And More...}

It's Friday people...FRIDAY!  What's normally a TGIF kinda day somehow doesn't feel so TGIF'y...not when the days of waking up alarmingly early are just around the bend...


No, I take that back I've got some good news for you.  News that will surely pick you up by your bootstraps {Whatever those might be} and put a smile on your face. 

It's called....

Erika over at The Honey Bunch...

...thought there may be some people out there who might like to "talk books" instead of "talk shop".  She was right.  People are jumping at the chance to be a contributor to this new blog and she's already up to 44 followers {in less than 24 hours}. 

I've always wanted to join a book club but have found reasons not to - like... 
1.  I'll embarrass myself by having nothing more than "it was good" rumbling around in my noggin {the stress of work tends to do that to me}
2.  I'll be more interested in the hors d'oeuvres than who dunnit
3. Will I be forced to read a book I don't like, but everybody else likes, and I might be the only one who doesn't actually like it?
4.  Will I be able to stay awake?
5.  Where will I hide my...

'Cuz Lord knows some books are WAY over my head...

But I love to read and I love to talk {or type in this instance} so I think I might like to do both. On a blog. Why not!?!?  So I'm going to give it a try.  I sure hope you stop by, follow, and jump in with any thoughts you might have...

In other news - look what I hubby hooked up today. 

Mimio!!!  That's my son messing around with it.  What a hoot when he tried erasing the white board
with his hand!

I am so dangblasted excited about this business. You have to remember, when I started this blogging adventure I had an overhead projector in my classroom.  That was the extent of my technology.  In three months I've acquired an Elmo, a projector and a Mimio and said ta-ta to my overhead {okay, not actually because I'm a teacher = hoarder, so I have it tucked safe in a corner "just in case"}.

I cannot wait to get schooled on all the wonderful things I can do in my classroom and you bet your bottom dollar I'll share - because it's true, you can use Smartboard files with Mimio so I'm guessing it can go the other way too.

Now head on over to The Best Endings to get your book on!
{And don't forget to tell your friends about it!!!! Oh, and follow because that's what we do around here!}

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Magical Math Words *FREEBIE*

Happy Thursday!

Let's make *m*a*g*i*c* be our theme...yes, let's go with that.  So...*a*b*r*a*c*a*d*a*b*r*a* today isn't Thursday afterall. There is another *week* left of break ~*~*~*~*~*~*poof***

Did it work?

Hubby doesn't go back until the 9th, but I'm pretty sure a whole bunch of us still go back on the 3rd.  Sorry girls, I tried.

There are some giveaways going on out there so I thought I'd share those with you first.

Erika over at The Honey Bunch is having her first giveaway to celebrate reaching 100 followers!

She's giving away this little slice of cuteness:

A car sticker that says "I'm a teacher - What's Your Super Power"

She's also giving away a *mystery item*....hmmm...that almost sounds *m*a*g*i*c*a*l* to me!

Caitlin over at Kindergarten Smiles is trying really hard to reach 300 followers before the New Year so head on over...make some *m*a*g*i*c* happen and follow her awesome blog.  Don't forget to enter her giveaway of her entire TpT store.  Looks like she has some cute stuff over there! :)

Hope King from 2nd Grade Shenanigans {don't you just love that blog name?} is also giving away her whole TpT store....just to thank everybody for following her blog.  Pure *m*a*g*i*c*!

Diane and Kelly are giving away a complete set of winter themed centers, over at Made for 1st Grade.  Oh my goodness...there is some way cute stuff!!!!

That's a lot of *m*a*g*i*c* in the air - wouldn't you say?

We spent some time before break learning about number stories and the *magic* words that are in them that tell us what to do with the numbers {add or subtract}.  We call them number stories instead of story problems because they aren't a problem to do at all {after we learn the *ma*gi*cal* math words, that is}. 

So grab yourself a *magi*cian's* hat and your magic wand...

Here's Mine!
And *a*l*a*k*a*z*a*m* ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Those number stories won't turn us into frogs or rabbits because we know the....

*M*A*G*I*C*A*L ~ *M*A*T*H* ~ *W*O*R*D*S*

Wave your magic wand on the poster below if you'd like to perform some magic in your own classroom!
Now stop thinking about school...go grab yourself a cuppa joe, and go watch Ellen!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year's Resolutions - Linky Party

Happy Almost New Year!!!!

It's hard to believe a whole 'nother year has gone by.  I hit the big 'ol 4-0 this year and no kidding, life is whizzing right by faster than ever.  I keep trying to slow it down - telling my boys they have to stay this age because it's the best.  Then they go right on and get another year older, another year cuter, another year smarter...and I find myself feeling okay with moving beyond last year into a new year with new life, spirit and possibilities. 

I'm linking up with A Teacher's Treasure so I can think about what I need to do to be a better me, or make this world a wee bit sweeter...

I'm not much of a resolution person.  Probably because I'm really good at hunkering down and reaching my goals...maintaining is my big problemo with a capital P. 

So without further ado...

*Get back to running/yoga
*Eat healthier
*Think of others and do small special things for them to show I care {A friend of mine calls these "sparkles" I love that}
*Strengthen my relationship with God
*Find balance and maintain all of the above

*Implement alternative seating
*Get better at taking conferring notes
*Feel good about what I'm doing professionally instead of feeling like I need to do more or be better
*Take Daily 5 up a notch {I've got a good start - need to delve deeper into Cafe}

There you have it...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

11 in '11 Linky Party

Hi! Hi! Hi!!!! {That's hyper-jittery-blog-deprived me saying hello!}

Today was a mighty busy day.  Good-busy.  Spent the day with my BFF shopping 'til we dropped {I really thought I was going to drop - like a fly - this dear friend of mine can SHOP...but I love the chit chat and the giggles}.  Thankfully another BFF of mine made a delicious dinner for our family tonight and the kids had a blast while the adults just hung out.  All in all, a great day!!!

Aren't linky parties the best way to blog when you're a teacher and you're on break?!?!

Kristin at A Teeny Tiny Teacher and Hadar at Miss Kindergarten are hosting an 11 in '11 Linky Party.  Here are my 11 in '11...

11. Favorite movie you watched
Okay, I'm going to say something that I can't believe is going to leave my lips.  It's not Twilight Breaking Dawn.  <gasp>.  No worries, I'm still crushing hard on Edward, but admit the acting isn't exactly stellar. 
I'm all for a movie that will make me laugh - I mean a deep, hard, belly laugh.  The kind of laugh that leaves me with tears streaming down my face and I press rewind two or three times and then I watch the whole movie again the very next day.  The kind of movie that doesn't leave me thinking, doesn't make me ponder a darn's just good for the soul. 

10. Favorite TV series
Honestly, I don't watch a ton of t.v. If I do watch t.v. I get totally sucked into Bachelor, Bachelorette, America's Got Talent, Biggest Loser...I love watching Ellen, shows on TLC or picking a series actually wasn't too hard for me because there's really only one that I watch religiously....

Mitchell and Cameron crrrrrack me up!

9. Favorite restaurant
Well, favorite restaurant and the restaurant I go to most don't jive.  If I had my choice:

Where we usually end up going...

8. Favorite new thing you tried
Bath & Body Works - Liplicious - Whipped Vanilla
You've got to try it!!!!!

7. Favorite gift you received
I would say my Kindle {because I love that thing to bits and pieces} but then you might think I'm a copy cat {Kristin}...

A close second...

Yes, that's a Shark Steam Mop.  I'm not sure if it's how easily and spotlessly it cleans my floors, or if it's because my fourth grade son overheard a conversation I had about how much I hate cleaning my floors and how I wish I had a Shark...he remembered that conversation from long ago and got me one for my birthday {No worries, hubby plans on schooling him on diamonds and dinner when he gets older}.  I thought that was so darn sweet.  The thing works like a champ...if you don't have one, I highly recommend you do some serious hinting...shoot, just head out to Bed, Bath & Beyond with your 20% off coupon and get it for yourself.  That way, maybe you can have your Shark and eat it too.  {?!}

6. Favorite thing you pinned
Okay, I've tried really hard to get into Pinterest.  I've even added the gadget to my blog.  I just don't get it.  I "follow" people and people "follow" me...but, well, I dunno - I think I might be okay with not being into it.  Lord knows, I spend enough time on this darn computer!!!! 

5. Favorite blog post Choosing favorites isn't something I'm very good at.  Usually I just say something is a favorite to please other people.  "What's our favorite color, Mrs. W.?" "Blue" {But not really, I don't have a favorite color}.  "What's your favorite food, Mrs. W.?" "Meatloaf" {Not so much, but you won't leave me alone if I don't give you an answer}. Kids like their teacher to have I make them up.  My favorite blog post?  Shoot - I don't know.  Maybe this one -  Influential People - Each and Every One of Us - maybe not.  I like them all the same! I think.

4. Favorite accomplishment You're killing me with all these "favorites"...HA - just kidding. Sorta.  Aside from birthing two awesome young boys {One of which was 10 lbs 4 oz}...I'd have to say blogging.  I've read blogs for years but never in a million gajillion years thought I would attempt to start one of my own.  I'm so glad I did!!!!!

3. Favorite picture 

This is a picture of my boys from last New Year's Eve.  Each year we celebrate the countdown - hmm, say at 10:00 pm or so.  We find an old Youtube video of the ball dropping and the boys throw streamers, blow their whistles, clink their glasses and drink their juice.  It's great fun!  They were having fun in front of the projector after we watched the ball drop and I got all creative and asked them to "clink their glasses" while I took a picture of their shadows.  Kinda cool, eh?
{disclaimer: Above picture is really only one of MANY favorites}

2. Favorite memory
Geez oh petes, I have a ton of these too.  I'll pick a relatively recent one.  We took a family trip up north last year.  I actually have many pictures from this vacation up in my classroom at school.  I'm not a "find your happy place" kinda person, but I swear  - when I look at those pictures it takes me back to such a peaceful time. 

One of many sunsets... {We saw one each of the 7 nights we were there} how I snuck in another favorite picture!?!?

1. Goal for 2012
Find a better balance, better perspective, and do more small/simple nice things for other people to let them know I appreciate them.

I would really like to implement alternative seating in my classroom.  I'm so intrigued by it and what really piqued my interest was reading Stacy's blog over at 2nd Grade Paradise.  My principal is really excited about it which is awesome.  He's having our school PT {physical therapist} talk about its benefits at our next professional development day.  Stacy has been so awesome answering all of my questions, sending me her lesson plans for implementing alternative seating...I can't wait to give it a go next school year! {I may even try it a bit this school year}

Wow - that took a lot of brain power!!!!

Now go link up and share your 11 in '11!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Top Three...If You Can Call it That...Linky Party & Something Has Me Tickled Pink

Hi Chicklets,

I'm sort of embarrassed to participate in this party, but I'll do it - consider it a late Christmas gift to all of my bloggy friends who might find yourselves feeling competitive and green with envy of people with, say, 49,000 views of ONE post.. {How does that happen, I won't mention any names, Miss Kindergarten } ...yes, I'll do that for you. Awww, hush, it's no big deal.  You're welcome.

If you're interested in showing me up checking out your stats for the year {Hey, that's right - I've only been blogging for two months...what do I expect anyway - instant Bloggess status like Kristin?} and proudly {or not so} display them for the whole-wide-world to see - go link up with Fern {Who I'm trying really hard to "follow" but Blogger hasn't let me follow a new blog in THREE days!!!} over at Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas.

Full Moon = Random and a *Think Sheet Freebie* - Are you ready? You might want to have a seat first.  Get a brown bag ready just in case you need to "breathe in, breathe out"....289 views

i'M aLl OvEr ThE pLaCe *Snowman Freebie* - Wait, it gets better...389 views

Happy Lucky 13th Follower Freebie - Okay, this one isn't *quite* so bad...910 views

I did learn a thing or two though about stats - I can check to see how often and which things are pinned....if you don't now how you just go to "stats" then to "traffic sources" and click "more".  It's listed under "referring url's"  - then find "Pinterest".  So, while my numbers might not be all that impressive, I was pretty geeked to see some of my items have been pinned and even some nice stuff was said about them too!

On  a different note...

I am pleased as punch to tell you that I am the proud owner of this piece of technology...
Which allows for me to turn this:

Into this:

It's the Mimio! {Click HERE for info}  It might not be a Smartboard - but I'm just tickled pink to be "testing" it out for our school. I'm hoping I like it and find it useful in the classroom.  If I like it our PTA is going to purchase 6 more.  Mimio has its own exchange online and from what I understand I'm able to use Smartboard files.  I found a ton of them on Jessica Meacham's website {HERE}.

If you're familiar with Mimio I'd love to hear what you think of it.  Here's hoping it's everything I think it might be!

Now go check out some of my old posts to beef up my stats...hey, if I keep clicking on my own posts will it bring up my numbers? !?! 

Guess where I'm headed?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry! Merry!

Hello Bloggy Buddies,

I hope you found yourself wrapped in love this Christmas day...

We ended our evening with singing Happy Birthday to Jesus...cha, cha, cha's and everything...

My bed is calling my name...

Driving 6 hours in one day tuckers a person right out...
{That, and Wipeout on the xbox 360 kinect...that'll do it too}

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Observation and a **Schema Freebie**

Hey Chickaroos,
I wanted to thank you so much for your kind words about my observation. The kids were a tad bit "off" but my principal didn't seem to notice.  I have such a nice group this year that an off day for them would have been a good day for my group last year. 

The kids cheered {literally} when I pulled out the pink erasers {I knew they'd be a hit} and my principal giggled when I pulled out the kleenex when I noticed my writing was so hard to read because of my "lazy erasing".  Happy ending - the kids helped me solve this problem and we all agreed to erase carefully with our brand spankin' new erasers because we want others to be able to read our writing.

While this lesson went well {in spite of the fact that one of my kids tried eating his eraser - thankfully, I think Mr. Principal missed it} I really wished he had seen my readers workshop mini lesson instead.  That one went REALLY well.

A few months back my friend, we'll call her "Barb", and I had a TNO {Teacher's Night Out}.  I think I blogged about it.  She visited my classroom, I visited hers and then we ate dinner and did some planning.  Our big professional goal is to edit, revise and tweak our reader's workshop mini lessons.  We made some progress this summer and finished up our last unit at our TNO.  We still have a ways to go...does it make me a dork that I can't wait for our next TNO so we can work on it some more?!?

I didn't really want to start anything new before break because we just wrapped up our unit on retelling...but I just couldn't hold off teaching the first lesson on connections.  It was just too good to wait.  That friend, we call "Barb", introduced me to this awesome book.  It's really a good one.

The author, Tanny McGregor, believes strongly in using concrete objects to help tap into background knowledge {schema} as well as other areas of comprehension.  For each comprehension lesson she provides ideas for what you could use as your concrete object - of course if you're like me, you're already thinking of other objects you can use from around the house or the classroom to not only make things more concrete for your kiddos...but more fun too!!!

Today's lesson was to get them thinking about schema and what it is.  I started off by placing small pieces of paper all over in the center of our circle. On each slip of paper I wrote a memory, a place I've been, something I've experienced or something from a book I've read: "Minnesota is really cold in the winter", "Running a race is hard work, but you feel really proud when you pass the finish line" "Fishing" etc.  I took my lint {schema} roller and picked up one piece at a time and read it out loud and shared the thought or idea. 

After picking up each piece of paper with my schema roller I talked about how our brains are like that sticky roller.  The things we see, hear, do, read all get stuck in our brains - just like the pieces of paper stuck to this sticky roller.

After that I had the kids paste a picture of a schema roller to the center of a piece of paper and they wrote some of their schema around it. 

Honestly, I've been teaching schema for years and eventually they really seem to understand what it is, but they seemed to really get it just after this introductory lesson.  I can't wait to delve deeper. 

Here's some of our thinking...{Sorry it's hard to see - darn cell phone}

Here's a copy of the schema roller...

Two more days...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Principal Observation - Go Ahead and Feel Sorry

Hi Girlies!!!
A lot of you stayed in your jammies all day long today - didn't you?  C'mon, don't try to tell me any different just to make me feel better about trying to instruct 23 wiggly, squirming, hyped up, overcooked firsties - I've been reading your blogs.  "Teaching? What's that?" says Kristen, over at Teeny Tiny Teacher. Heather from Heather's Heart sweetly states "It is after 5:00 and I am still in my pajamas!" Well let me just tell you somethin'...good for you, you deserve it and I hope you're enjoying every minute of it!!!!!

In spite of the constant fidgeting and hummin' and squirmin' and jigglin' I'm planning for my formal observation tomorrow.

What Was I THINKING!?!?!

Well, two weeks ago when I scheduled it I'm sure it was right after taking my first seasonal bite of peppermint bark and I would have agreed to anything at that moment of pure bliss. 

What might I be attempting to teach my freaked our first graders tomorrow?  Well, Mr. Principal is coming in to observe writer's workshop.  I'm sure it will go okay.  We're hot and heavy into making our writing easier for others to read {one of my favorite units of study}. 

We started this unit by dividing our huge stack of writing from our writing folders into two piles - easy to read and hard to read {Lucy Calkins}.  I was so impressed with what big kids they were.  Typically, first graders write it and wanna be done with it.  To ask them to look at their writing again, not just one story, but all of them and really look at it with a writer's eye and do something REALLY big-kid by admitting {or even noticing} that some of it isn't so easy to read...well, that's just asking a lot of a 6 or 7 year old...but I'm telling you, they rose to the challenge.

After that we shared with the class what we felt made our writing hard for others to read.  They came up with a really insightful list {including "Peach juice on my paper"... can't Delmonte package their fruit cups differently...seriously?!?!? No worries...I'm pretty much ready to ban them in my next newsletter}.

We've taken each "problem" and together we worked through a solution/tool/strategy that we can use to make improvements.  So far we have:

This is how our classroom chart is organized - it has more items on it.

For the big day {probably while you're all watching Ellen, drinking your cuppa joe...} I'm going to post a story that I've written but of course it won't be easy to read because I will have done some lazy erasing and written write on top of that lazy erasing.  They'll come down to the carpet with their Writer's Eyeglasses and they'll do some detective work - detecting what needs to be fixed in my writing.

After that I'm going to give them all a brand new PINK, smooth, delightful eraser.

Doesn't that just make you smile?  Might not seemlike much to you - but we only use these little guys...

So they are going to be mighty geeked about their new writing tool that will magically help them erase better {same concept as new gym shoes help them run faster}. 

Click on the picture below to pick up the list we're using to keep track of our learning:

Clipart: Scrappin Doodles

Wish me luck {and I'll wish you some good guests on Kelly, or good juicy topics on The View}...

OH, and I'm SOOOOO excited that I reached TWO HUNDRED followers!!!!  WHOOPEEEE....I'm thinking, with the holidays and all...and with my current frazzled state I'll hold off until I reach 250 followers to do a little somethin' - somethin'!  Stay tuned...{and maybe put my cute lil' blog button on your blog...maybe? Hey, you can do it while you're watching The Doctors}

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Today's My Lucky Day & Currently December!

Oh My! Oh My! Oh My!

Today is my lucky day!!!!!  I love linking up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade when she does her "Currently's" fun to see what everybody is up to!  Click below to link up!

If you look to the right {of my blog} do you notice something?!? I'll give you a hint: it's cute, it makes me happy and you can grab it and put it on your own blog to make me even happier {Just an aside: I'm 9 followers away from 200 - yup}.  You guessed it - I have a blog button now!!!!!  No, I didn't figure out that technology myself - Leslie at Kindergarten Works made it for me!!!!  Thank you bunches and bunches, Leslie! 


And I won an awesome giveaway over at Heather's Heart!  I'm so darn excited to pick out three items from her TpT store AND I get this ADORABLE shirt from Carla's Etsy store ~ Sewing Sassy.  Click on the pic below to see what other cutsie tootsie things she has for sale!

Okay, I'm off to go buy a lottery ticket...I'll remember each and every one of you when I win!!!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pictures, Pictures and More Pictures

Today was my last day before break - phew, what a sense of relief...what a long week.  I'm so happy -

What -


Wait -

I still have FOUR. MORE. DAYS.

So all the rest of you can just stop your bragging right now, hear me?!?!

Here are a few pictures from today... {I was a picture takin' fool}

We had a reading celebration today  - celebrating all of our hard work retelling stories.  These were their gifts for a job well done {gotta love winning a blog giveaway!}.

The kids brought their stuffed buddies from home to help celebrate!

Got these retelling bookmarks from somewhere in blogland - can't remember where - it's been years.  LOVE using these bookmarks.  I teach one or two important components of a thorough retell each day.  After all of the parts have been taught, I make my "fake phone call" to my teaching buddy, Barb {remember her?} and pretend to retell a REALLY GOOD BOOK that she JUST HAS TO BUY!  Then I send the kids off to practice with a reading partner.  The paperclips are attached for them to slide down as they tell that part of the story.  The ones above {with the stuffed buddies} were made by my parapro.  I'll grab them from school next week and will post them here.

I walked into school today to these little bursts of sunshine. They came from a dear friend for my 40th {yikes!!!!!} birthday.  xoxo

I also walked into this...

Happened upon this little awesomeness today minutes before doing the snow globe craftivity with my kiddos.  Only wish I had brought a snow globe from home  - what was I thinking!?!

Don't you just love 'em?!?! Click {HERE} for more details.

If you haven't tried glitter spray - you might want to.  I'm anti-glitter. Haven't allowed a sprinkle of that evil stuff in my classroom in YEARS.  Love this stuff...xoxo

Came home to this...

And this...

I got a new camera for my birthday. Just trying it out. Here's our Christmas tree.

The reason for the season..

Our village - with a strange black blob on the right. I swear that's not on my wall...hmmmm

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

Just my wreath - she hangs all year round, but I like her!

Happy weekend girls - let's enjoy this nice l o n g break -

Shoot - mine hasn't started yet. 

Get some rest for me ya'll {I love saying that - do you think my Michigan friends would get annoyed with me if I started throwing it into everyday conversation?}

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