Category Archives: #OneLittleWord

#SOLSC17: #OLW Brave


The past week has tested my #OLW – brave.  I really can’t write much about it YET.  But I’m here to tell you that last week had some REAL Highs countered by one humongous abysmal low!

Highs

Time with my son, daughter-in-law and 22 month old grandson

Time with my nephew, niece by marriage, great nephew and great niece

Time with my niece, great nephew and great niece

Time with my mother

Time with my sister

Time with my ex-brother-in-law

Time with my sister, brother-in-law and three short nephews

Time with my brother, sister-in-law, niece and step-niece

Time with my brother, sister-in-law and niece

Time with aunts, uncles and cousins galore

Seconds, minutes, hours, days and days!

time

Google images, retrieved 3/13/17

Talking

Eating

Laughing

Shopping

Eating

Swimming

Laughing

Playing cards

Eating

Checking math homework

Laughing

Talking with friends

Time well spent!

One of my favorite roles

aunt

 

Warning:



Lows

Last Tuesday’s news

Calling

Telling Mom

Two new angels

My godson (nephew) and his wife

No time for a last goodbye

No time for a last hug

No time for a last joke

A double funeral

Hug your loved ones

Tell them you love them

Every minute

You never know . . .

Don’t leave any “could have”, “should have”, “would have”. . .

All in! 

Family!


Folder from Funeral Service

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum and the #SOLSC that runs from March 1 to the 31st. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

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early morning slicer

#SOL17: #OLW


one-little-word

As 2017 begins there are many sources for information about #OLW and this video may add to your own knowledge base.  The authors of Two Writing Teachers are revealing their words daily and many additional words have been revealed this week.

Last year I celebrated “Joyful” and added “Joy” to the background of my blog so I would see it every time I made a post or responded to a comment.  I loved the constant reminder and the way that I seemed to spend more time deliberately reflecting on the joy that I found in reading, in writing, in my work and in my family.  2016 was truly a JOYFUL year.

Sometimes #OLW is elusive and sometimes it finds an author.  My words have been

  • 2014    Transfer
  • 2015     Focus
  • 2016    Joyful

How do I impact the teachers and coaches that I work with?

This was just one question I asked when I began thinking about my #OLW. Teacher Leadership is always a focus.  All teachers can grow as both teachers and leaders because leaders truly come from the teaching ranks.

brave-fullan-and-dimensions-of-teacher-leadership

As I have been working with teachers and coaches this year, I have revisited these domains as organized by Michael Fullan.  Most of the coaches have a great deal of knowledge and learning experiences that have provided growth and strength for improving student learning.  Less time and energy has been spent on the fifth and sixth domains:  management of the change process and the sense of moral purpose.

Are all 6 domains evenly balanced?  Should they be?

I’ve been wondering about balance again for awhile.  Should there be a sense of teacher agency and urgency for more actions in domains 4, 5, and 6?  Are more “successful” teachers/coaches aware of these domains?  What would their own rating be?

Where are your strengths?

Many words surfaced. My blog posts are testaments to many actions/learning especially in domains one and three.  Domain two is evident in conferences and PD attendance as well as on-line and face to face work with teachers and coaches.

Change is often necessary as different results require a change in instruction and perhaps a different focus for assessment.  Moral purpose may be offset by a sense of urgency. For sure, students must be at the center of all decision-making so that requires student-centered thinking/planning/organizing.  An action research cycle with student learning as the focus could very well be an avenue to increase the use of those top two domains.

What will that change take?

Honesty

Courage

Reflection

Soul-Searching

Data

A plan

A goal

Constant Adjustment

and the ability to be

BRAVE!

brave-olw

In order to be ready for growth and learning, my word found me

brave word art.JPG

This may mean going against the mainstream beliefs.

This may mean constantly checking my mindset.

This may mean that there will be some bumps in the road.

This may mean longer periods of silence in a “no excuses” role.

This may mean abandoning “but we’ve always done it this way”.

This will mean that students will always be the number 1 consideration.

Because the end result for students  . . .

brave-rainbow

is a rainbow of possibilities!

What’s your #OneLittleWord?  How did it find you?

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

(And so exciting to know that Melanie and I share the same word – BRAVE! for 2017!)

Ted Talk – Kimberly Davis (@onstageKimberly) – BRAVE

 

#SOL16: JOY


joy

My #OneLittleWord for 2016 has been JOY and this past weekend at #NCTE16 was packed with joy every minute of every day. Surrounded by professionals that I know, admire, and constantly learn with, it was quite easy to forget the policies, problems, and politics that have rocked the U.S. landscape lately.

See how many “Slicers” you recognize at the Saturday dinner.

(Bonus:  How many of the blogs can you name?)

Slicer Satu.JPG

“Slicer” dinner at Amalfi’s Pizza Saturday

JOY

The JOY began with a #G2Great meetup Thursday night at Max’s Coal Pizza.  This group chats online on Thursday evenings with Mary Howard, Amy Brenneman, and Jenn Hayhurst as co-moderators.

g2great-thursd

Thursday night #G2Great meetup at Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria

Do you know which 4 are in both groups?

Can you name the states represented?

joy gift pic

And of course another night of conversation and JOY.

friday-night

Friday night at Legal Seafood 

joyful

On Sunday we actually found time to visit before leaving Atlanta!

sunday

Julieanne, Tara, Margaret and me!

One of the highlights of my travels was my great roommate, Dani Graham Burtsfield, from Kalispell, MT. Thanks so much for all your great work as our “historian”!

dani

Joy with some of the audience members for the poetry session are found here!

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At poetry with Mary Lee, Julieanne and myself – just missing Steve!

And even MORE JOY with some of the presenters!

Have you checked in on your “One Little Word” lately?

slice of life

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

#NCTE16: Celebrate


Atlanta . . .

The home of a fabulous Civil Rights Museum

The home of Martin Luther King Junior

The home of thousands of teachers this weekend

Spending Friday, Saturday and Sunday together

Learning together

Feeding their souls

Fueling their passions

Collecting their energy

Forging a future

In this fabulous #NCTE16 family!

I am so humbled to rub elbows among so many talented readers and writers who are so willing to chat, to dig into answering those clarifying questions and to help out in so many ways.  And who in their lives have chosen “kind”.

Thanks for Voxer cousin Erica, the MARTA directions were perfect. Wowza!  What an easy way to travel from the airport to the hotel.  Thanks to the #G2Great dinner organizers – such a treat to meet up together before the sessions began.  Looking up and down the table at all the JOY (my #OLW) amidst the hugs and conversations, there was a moment when I wanted to hit the pause button. Just a few short seconds to admire my companions and the many paths that brought us together from across the country.  Together we are better.  We bring our knowledge, our skills and our hearts together to improve literacy in our communities.

We are activists.

We are here.

We are learning together.

We are reading together.

We are turning and talking.

We are growing together.

And the rich conversations continue long after the sessions as we naturally have t0 share our learning with each other.

Friday was the first full day of #NCTE16 and it was a long day. It was a joyful day from the first navigation of the convention space to the Donald Graves Legacy Breakfast.  Thanks to Heinemann for such a wonderful gathering. In the same space on stage:  Tom Newkirk, Penny Kittle, Georgia Heard, Katherine  Bomer, Smokey Daniels, Cornelius Minor, Allison Marchette, Rebekah ODell and Kim Parker.

Sharing memories.

Sharing credos.

Tweet worthy quotations.

Watching a master at work on a video.

Writing our own credos.

And then we were off.

Every session has close to 50 choices.  Hard choices for learners.  Who do I REALLY need to hear?  Who will affirm my beliefs?  Who will push me to new understandings?

Learning from Ralph Fletcher, Ellie Keene, Kathy Collins, Matt Glover, Marjorie Martinelli, Shanna Schwartz, Alecia Luick, Shana Frazin, Katy Wischow, Val Geschwind, the amazing #G2Great crew (Erica, Amy, Jenn, Jill, Dani, Kari, Kathryn) and the many gracious Heinemann and Stenhouse authors filled my brain, my heart and my soul.

One of my favorite sessions was “Low Stakes Writing” with Ralph Fletcher.  If we want joyful student writers, Ralph proposes that we must add some green belt writing for our students. The metaphor that he used to describe writing energy was the hot air balloon and he challenged us to think of when the balloon would rise – when writing workshop is going merrily along and when the balloon would sink back to earth – with the addition of test prep work and mandatory writing tasks that literally suck the JOY out of writing.  As teachers, parents, administrators, we do need to be aware of our own limitations but we also need to stretch ourselves as readers, writers and thinkers. We must be the models of the writing that we want our students to do.   The concept of “feral writing’ is fascinating.  A feral animal – one who was once domesticated who has now returned to the wild. Writing that students choose to do on their own time. The creation of new genres of writing that arise from choice as students do find their writing voice. How can we honor those voices?

No pictures here in this blog post.  My computer is taking a break so I’m composing this on my iPad mini.  It’s not my favorite device.  It’s challenging as I type in the dark out of kindness to my roommate at zero dark thirty.

Day Two begins at 8 am and goes until 5:30 pm.

Decisions  about sessions.

Decisions about when to visit the exhibit hall.

And what about those favorite authors and those friends from twittter who we have not yet connected with?

Much more joy and learning ahead!

How will you spend your Saturday?

 

 

#DigiLitSunday: Focus


digilit-buttonJoin the #DigilitSunday authors at Margaret Simon’s blog here.

focus Nov. 6..jpg

Welcome, old friend.

FOCUS

My #OneLittleWord for 2015.

I wrote about you here, here, and here.

So enough said?

Not so fast!  Let’s reconsider “Focus” with a different lens – or two!

Focus on Who?

Simple . . .

Focus on Students

Who will focus? 

The teachers and the school community

This two-fold approach ensures that students are the center of the work.  And as teachers and the school community focus on students, the teachers will collaboratively work together as they learn, grow and share ideas and techniques to best meet the needs of students.

Maintain status quo?

Teachers and schools are constantly considering what is working and what is not.  It’s 2016 so schools and “learning” don’t look the same as they did in the 1960’s, 1980’s or even in 2000.  The adults in the community have already “DONE” school and years of schooling don’t make them experts. The students currently in the building are the FOCUS.

Focus on What?

Learning . . .

Student Learning

Teacher Learning

How does an educator decide “WHAT” to focus on?  There are many lists/features that are all “research-based” and even appear to have “gold stickers”.

Which one is best?  There’s no “clear cut” answer for the best or even the “one” that will have the greatest impact because many of the “whats” that teachers can work on can also be combined for even greater student results.  Instead of searching for the best, look within.  What can you the teacher, add to your repertoire to increase your impact or effect?

What happens when a teacher uses data to study what is working currently in the classroom with the current students and then decides to change one variable and measure that effect?

Any of these could be a target of district or personal teacher study (and could overlap):

  • Hattie’s effect sizes,
  • Art of Comprehension via Trevor, Rich, Donna, & Justin’s graphic, or
  • questioning (DOK).
focus-hattie

John Hattie, Visible Learning Effect Sizes.

focus-art-of-comprehension

Art of Comprehension, Bryan, Donner & Dolci #40CF                                                                      “Art of Comprehension” Voxer Conversation

focus-dok

Webb’s DOK, Questioning

The key is using several data points (never just one) to determine where a change needs to occur, developing a plan and then working that plan!  Quality instruction, quality teachers, and a quality use of time!

Focus on How?

How are decisions made about instruction, learning and teaching? How is technology involved? (I know you were waiting for the “DigiLit” connection!)  How can technology be a TOOL that allows equitable access for ALL students?  How can technology level the playing field for students and for student learning? How can technology allow students to APPLY their learning outside of school settings?

Methodology varies from classroom to classroom, building to building, and district to district.  Some have local choice and some have state mandates.  Within all situations one factor remains, professional responsibility!  The professionals in the classroom have a responsibility to provide the environment and instructional opportunities that enable ALL students to learn at high levels!

WHY Focus?

And now I’ve gone full circle.  The answers to Who? What? and How? have brought me to the Why? which brings me back to my 2016 #OneLittleWord:  Joy.

There is JOY for students when students are the focus.  There is JOY for students when learning is the focus.  There is JOY for students when teachers are growing, learning and sharing those practices that have data to support that they increase students’ desire to learn and their learning.  There is JOY for teachers when students and teachers have learning as the focus. Teaching is NOT for the faint of heart; teaching is FOR the students! All students must be growing and learning every day and that’s no easy task!

End Goal?

Learning

Every Day

Joyful Learning

Joyful Learning Every Day!

What do you focus on?   How do we know that is your focus?

focus-what-if

And what if?

What if . . .

Teacher Clarity (Hattie), The 6 Things We Teach Every Day (coming soon in a book by Trevor Bryan) and Questioning at higher levels (DOK) were all strengthened simultaneously?  How would that look for the students?  How would that make a difference for students?

#SOL16 + #OLW = JOYFUL


If you’ve studied the background in my blog, you have seen that my #OneLittleWord “Joy” has been with me for quite awhile.

joyful

Where is that joy?

Yesterday, I was cocooned in joyful.

Joyful was in Voxer Posts.

Joyful was in Facebook Posts.

Joyful was in tweets.

There are days when the Alpha and Omega of joyful seems to reside in social media.  Sadly that means that the Joyful is not easily visible in some of my work days.  Sometimes the day to day trivia is wearing – mentally and physically.  It’s hard to summon laughter and truly celebrate “JOY”! But yesterday JOY surrounded me everywhere.

Joy is here in these videos  . . .

What is your hope? via #ParkwaySchools (3:14)

Who will be in your classroom this year? via Four O’Clock Faculty (2:04)

If you feel like you need a new life via Power of Positivity (0:51)

and in both versions of “The Hospital Window” here (4:20) or here (2:59).

Are you planning a “Global Welcome Back to School” this year?

Or what about “Making Joy a Reading Standard”?

How will you spread JOY this year?

How will you be Joyful?

What will it look like?  

What will it sound like?

slice of life 2016

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

What is your #OLW? Are you serving it well?

#TCRWP FUN


So what’s been on the “FUN agenda” while in New York City?

Dining out!  So many choices and so much visiting . . .

with Erika from Malaysia, Sandy from California, Allison from Arizona  . . .

Celebrating birthdays,

Riding the metro,

a Broadway show,

and spending time with friends from near and far!

Vicki, Allison, Catherine, and Colette

Screenshot 2016-06-25 17.45.13

fun home

Enjoying my #OneLittleWord – JOYFUL in New York City!!!

What is on your list  for “JOY” this summer?

*  *  *  *

And if you have not YET read enough about #TCRWP writing,

check out

Mrs. Yollis’ Classroom

Teachers and Students: Lifelong Learners

Past blogs about Writing Institutes:

2016 #TCWRP Writing Takeaways here, here, here, here, and here.

2015 #TCRWP Writing here, here, here, here, and here.

2014 #TCRWP Writing here, here, here, here, and here.

2013 Kate Roberts and Close Reading at Writing Institute  I did not blog daily.  I had Lucy Calkins for large group and Colleen Cruz for my small group with coaches and administrators and I felt totally lost . . . a non-writer adrift in a sea of writers!

Learning Curve


Think about something new that you have learned lately.  Something that required more than five or ten minutes to learn. Something that you had to practice and work at a little bit . . . or maybe a lot.

Do you have a learning situation in mind?

Now consider these questions:

  • Did you choose the topic?
  • Were you curious about the topic?
  • Did you go joyfully into a study of the topic?
  • Was it something that you “just had to learn”?

Which of these describes your learning curve for the situation you have in mind?

I’m ready for a two week learning adventure that “kicks off” my summer learning.  But with a little reflection, I came to the realization that it definitely kicks off my “out of town/state learning” but not my summer learning.

On Monday of the last two weeks, I worked with Lisa, one of our Technology Specialists, on a “class” that we were offering for local teachers.  We had talked, planned, and talked over the course of several months.  After the first of May we got serious and talked about what our product would look like. The expression on my face had to be priceless . . . reading apps/tech tools, writing apps/tech tools, and Google drawing.  My knowledge level:  kinda, kinda, and not a clue.

The class:  Exploring and Reviewing Technology for K-5 Reading Instruction

Our goal:  Find meaningful quality resources to support quality core instruction in K-5 reading classrooms.  We originally thought of reading, writing about reading, and fluency as key areas where data would support that technology might be able to support growth in learning.

How would we do that? Well, we began talking about the criteria for “technology to support reading”.  Yes, student engagement is important. Yes, learning is important.  Yes, the 4 C’s are important (Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity).

How do teachers currently make decisions about WHAT tools to use?  Is there a better way to make decisions about TOOLS?  We weren’t able to answer all of our questions, but we did learn a lot as we explored and reviewed technology.  We modeled a bit of “app-smashing”.  In a technological world that changes just about as fast as the temperature or the price of gas, one of our goals was just to increase OUR own knowledge of what tools teachers are using, how they learn about them, and how they know students are learning!

So here’s an example of some of my learning in May to get ready for this class.

Screenshot 2016-06-16 18.12.53

 

New Learning:  Google drawing, Canva and a format for sharing.  I lucked out on the format and was able to begin with “make a copy” of a similar task card already created by our talented media specialist Tricia.  (Here’s a link to view the document in real size.)  The goal of this task card is that students could have some choices and follow the directions to try out the challenge.

Screenshot 2016-06-16 18.14.00

Teachers would have this version of the card in order to make a decision about whether this would work, or even more importantly, even be appropriate for their students. In some classrooms there are many devices with all students having google accounts.  And the lower tech classroom may have fewer devices and no student google accounts. (Google link here.)

New Learning:  Continued work with Google Drawing, Canva and considering teacher tips.

Still considering:  What’s the best way to “show” an appropriate amount of information without overwhelming teachers or students?   How do these drawings work for you the reader/writer?

When I was working on these Google drawings, my learning curve felt like it was almost a straight vertical line – no curve at all, especially when my content for the cards was also new.  Because I was familiar with many digital sources of print, that content was the easiest.  However two boxes and different colored backgrounds caused more learning about Google Drawings.

It’s summertime and the school year (work year) has ended.  But this learning was in the last month and applied in the last days of the year.  Teaching, working, and learning up until the last minute . . . and even to infinity and beyond.

Am I always learning?  How do you know?

Are you always learning?  How do we know?

What’s your plan for continued learning?

 

 

 

#SOL16: Anticipation


“My bags are packed,

I’m ready to go.

I’m standing here outside my door”;

SCREEEECH! (needle on record player scratches the vinyl record)

BECAUSE my phone says, “3 days until my trip to New York City”.

What a bummer!

Does this look like a summer rerun?

On Friday, I’m off to my fourth #TCRWP June Writing Institute and the #June Reading Institute and I am ready to go.

I’ve checked my list at least three times . . .

1 trip to the bank

2 packed carry on bags

3 pairs of black shoes

4 notebooks to separate the week long sessions

5 colors of Pilot erasable highlighters

6 colors of Flair markers

7 th series of flights to #TCRWP ( 4 Institutes and 3 Saturday Reunions)

8 the midpoint day of this round of travel

9 th trip to NYC in my lifetime

10 google docs already created and labeled for each day of note-taking

11 electrical devices and power cords

12 hours to grade graduate work

13 chapters to read and I can finish three professional books before I go

14 days of learner – ready apparel to plan for

15 days of fun, learning, and hanging out with some Twitter, Voxer, blogging, reading and writing friends!!!

Priceless ~

Necessary learning in order to grow as a professional . . .

countdown.jpg

I will

survive

In fact, I will flourish because this is my FIRST agenda for learning!

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reading sections.JPG

Rock Star Facilitators Celena, Colleen, Amanda, and Kathleen!

And also . . .

“Fun Home” on Broadway,

Dinner with friends,

Twitter Book Club Chats,

Google Book Club Chats,

Conversations on Voxer

because Iowans in NYC are always on the go . . .

and Iowans at #TCRWP soak up every minute of learning!

Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, and Thinking . . .

and oh, so JOYFUL (#OLW) to have this opportunity to grow, learn, live and laugh!

How will you grow this summer?

How will you increase your knowledge and skills in order to be a “better you” next year?

 

slice of life 2016

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  Thank you for this weekly forum!

 

 

#SOL16: Joyful Tears


Stifling back a sob, I wiped the tears slowly dripping down my cheeks with my head down. Afraid to make eye contact. Literally in fear of seeing 413 women surrounding me in tears. Seeing it would make it more real.  Certain that the tears would become a river leading to the turf in Kinnick Stadium if I actually saw how many others were also crying.  I could hear sniffles, nose-blowing and out-loud crying.  Superimposed over our anguish was the joyful and vibrant voice of eleven year old Christopher Turnis, Honorary Captain for the Iowa Ladies Football Academy.

Christopher totally rocked his time with the microphone.  Funny. Articulate. A young man  who currently has a feeding tube in order to survive, who has already had one kidney transplant and YET has endured over 40 surgeries and 1000 nights in the hospital who stood in front of an audience to thank his family at home and his family at the U of I Children’s Hospital and Clinics for all their support because he’s never “done anything the easy way”.

It was truly a blessing that we met Christopher at the end of the day.  It was an emotional roller coaster as his mother was the next speaker for the record-breaking crowd in Kinnick’s south end zone before Mary Ferentz announced that the participants had raised over $346,614.  The top prize went to a participant who had raised $8,000 herself.

So what do women really do at a seven hour football camp?

The agenda went something like this . . .

Register

Tours and Instructional Presentations (2 hours):  All – American Room, Weight and Conditioning Room, and Team Room

Lunch at Kinnick

Choices:  Tours of Locker Rooms, Practice the “SWARM”, pictures with the coaches and players, visit with other participants, testing individual  skills and checks on sunscreen and hydration built in.

Introductions:  Coaches and Teams

Drills: Rotations through blocking, passing, footwork, defense, fumble recovery, meeting with special teams . . .

Speeches by Coach Ferentz, Christopher, his mother, and Mary Ferentz

And highlights look like this . . .

The line outside to “ENTER” in order to register when the doors opened!

one Iowa

The positive vibes and signage everywhere!  The intentionality of the daily care of the Iowa Hawkeye football players! (signs in the weight room)

And the infamous visitors’ lockerroom inside Kinnick.

Such an icky, icky pink . . .

And then inside the Home locker room (these walls are not pink – odd tint in the picture)

The players and their own mothers who were part of the day’s activities.

eight Iowa

This picture was special as Coach and I chatted about our gandsons named “John” (mine would be eight months older)!

nine Iowa

And, in fact this was our last family photo with Coach after the 2014 win at Indiana that heralded our family expansion.

Evan Julie and Coach

Former standout Mark Weisman, also from 2014, back with the Hawkeyes this summer.

ten Iowa

And one picture with QB CJ Beathard

eleven iowa

It was an amazing day with valiant young men who treated us all like royalty.  Kind, thoughtful, teachers for the day who inspired us with their growth mindset and fun-loving attitudes.

It was a day to make memories and to consider how it feels to be a novice absorbing new learning in a field full of experts.

“Was that out, cut, and ?”

“Or left over right, cut, and ?”

Thanks to my generous sister!    With her sponsorship and donation, it was a privilege to attend and learn with 413 others at the Iowa Ladies Football Academy.

Interested in learning more?

Check out these sites.

My Wife Plays Football with the Hawkeyes

Iowa Ladies Football Academy

Hawkeye Players Cut Short Vacation for a Good Cause

challenge

How have you challenged yourself to try to learn something new?  What did you learn about yourself?  How do you continue to “put yourself in the learner’s shoes”?

slice of life 2016

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  Thank you for this weekly forum!

 

Joyful is my #OLW!

 

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