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The best way to learn what kids are thinking & feeling is by listening to them, so I am happy to share my students’ voices!

How Mrs. Moye’s Class Made My Year Better by Breno, 8th Grade

To start with, we read a lot which is awesome. We did things we like while learning. And every single assignment we did was fun–there were no assignment I was bored while doing. And because of this class, I found some great books I would have never found. Sometimes I didn’t want to go to school or was feeling sick, and this class made my day less stressful. When I thought I wouldn’t be able to do something, Mrs. Moye always helped me. So thank you Mrs. Moye for being an awesome teacher and for making my year better!

Tips for Middle School by Leila, 8th Grade

Middle School is like a journey. There’s going to be some things that are hard. Or it may feel like you can’t push through certain trials. But you can! Starting middle school was a pretty scary experience for me. Maybe it will be for you, too, so here are my tips. 

My first tip to surviving middle school is to get a sense of what the people are like. Try to surround yourself with people you feel safe with and people that would be a good influence on you. If you find the right friends, they will always be there for you. 

Tip two is to join any clubs or groups you are passionate about: music, art, sports, whatever it may be–just do it! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 

Tip three is to NOT PROCRASTINATE! It is the worst thing you can do when you start getting into more advanced classes. Organize your time and study well. 

Tip four is to go to all of those fun field trips and activities your grade level participates in. These events could be one of the best nights of your life. It really gives you a chance to just have fun and be with the ones you care about while you still can. 

My last and final tip is to make the most of your time. It may seem like a big deal at the start, but as it begins to get closer to the end of the year, you realize how important this part of your life is. Get all of your friends’ phone numbers, have them sign your yearbook, hang out with them over the summer. Make every moment count. They might not go to the same high school as you. Take pictures will all your friends, and make it all count while it still lasts!

Favorite 6th Grade Activities by Josh, Nick, Damon, and Nathan, 6th Grade

  • Frog Dissection in Science
  • Teacher vs. Student Volleyball Game
  • Hoops for Hearts
  • Trackfest
  • Valentine’s Day Dance
  • Jazz Field Trip at the Bob Carr
  • End of Year Level Up Party
  • Book Trailer Creation using Animoto in Mrs. Moye’s Claass
  •  PE Units: Track, Basketball, Racketball, Badminton, Capture the Flag, and Friday Freeday
  • Creating a Civilization Activity in World History
  • Finishing the Last Standardized Test of the Year
  • In-Class Book Clubs in Mrs. Moye’s Class
  • Jennifer Nielsen Author Visit
  • Watching a Movie in Language Arts
  • Weird But True Activity in Mrs. Moye’s Class
  • Writing Blog Posts for Unleashing Readers
  • ICT: Coding
  • ICT: Typing and Nitrotype,
  • Online Safety Netiquette Project in ICT
  • Word Webs in World History
  • No Read Ink in Language Arts

 

Thank you everyone for your thoughts on middle school!

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

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Tuesday: Student Voices!: Short Essays on Reading and Books by Luis, Star, Paola, Amy, Alex, Maya, Axel, Cooper, & Jacob

Friday: 5 Worlds: The Red Maze by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

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Kellee

We are moving homes here in Orlando, so I am going to take off about 6 weeks to get my family moved and settled. I’ll be back early August.

Ricki

Hi, all! I just returned very late from a day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park with my visiting family. I hope you all had a great reading week!

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Tuesday: Student Voices!: Thoughts on Middle School by Breno, Leila, Josh, Nick, Damon, & Nathan

Friday: From an Idea Series by Lowey Bundy Sichol

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Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

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5 Worlds #3: The Red Maze
Author: Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel
Illustrator: Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, Boya Sun
Published May 7th, 2019 by Random House Books for Young Readers

Summary: In book 3, Oona Lee is determined to light Moon Yatta’s beacon and continue her quest to save the galaxy. But reaching the red beacon means navigating an impossible maze of pipes and facing devious enemies at every turn. Luckily, her friend Jax Amboy has returned from his adventures transformed! Now he must confront the owner of his former starball team, a ruthless businessman who will stop at nothing to get his best player back on the field . . . and who can grant them access to the beacon. Meanwhile, Oona and An Tzu find a mysterious rebel leader and release a surprising power within Oona’s magic. Will they make it in time to stop the evil force seeking to rule the 5 Worlds?

About the Creators: 

Praise: 

Review:

If you have not read the first two books in this series, stop reading. Go get them. And read them. Then come back. 🙂 It is worth it I promise! Here’s my review of book one: http://www.unleashingreaders.com/?p=13265.

As for book 3, The Red Maze, it starts off with a bang as we learn what happened to Jax as he recaps for Oona and An Tzu. The trio are on their way to Moon Yatta to complete their mission of lighting the red beacon. It jumps right into where book 2 left off.

Like the others, the story is full of adventure, battles, betrayal, surprises,

I love the underdog trio that are fighting to save the world. They are fearless and so empathetic, putting their lives on the line to save all. An Tzu is especially interesting as we are still looking for a reason for his rare disappearing illness.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Use The Red Maze to ask some very deep analysis and reflective questions to your students (see below). The story can also be easily connected to significant historical events.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How do you truly destroy evil?
  • What can you compare the corporation takeover on Moon Yatta to here in America?
  • How does the removal of laws protecting the environment affect the world?
  • What can you compare the shapeshifters being banned to in history?
  • What would you be willing to do to save the world?
  • How can pressure affect performance?
  • What makes something alive?
  • What are examples of people ignoring evil to help reach their own wants in history like what happened in The Red Maze?

Flagged Passages: 

First, view these amazing animation test for the series:

These definitely show the brilliance of the creators!

Read This If You Love: The first 5 Worlds books, the Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi, Mighty Jack series by Ben Hatke, Zita the Spacegirl series by Ben Hatke, The Time Museum series by Matthew Loux

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Mark Siegel and Random House for providing a copy for reivew**

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The best way to learn what kids are thinking & feeling is by listening to them, so I am happy to share my students’ voices!

Why Teachers Should Let Students Read Manga by Luis, 8th Grade

Mrs. Moye let me read manga for most of the year. I read a huge variety of awesome mangas, but some teachers don’t like manga for different reasons. But I feel like I have the right to read whatever I want. Manga isn’t just fighting cartoons, some of them have a better plot than books. For example, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure has a better vampire plot than other vampire books out there. Some have great love stories or more realistic action. Manga is truly something that teachers should let their students read and enjoy. And who knows–they may even learn Japanese!

Why 6th Graders Should Be Allowed to Read More Mature Books If They Want by Star, 6th Grade

I believe 6th graders should be allowed to read more mature books. It allows the kids to venture into a world they still have a while to actually enter. They allow kids to feel more emotions, such as sadness in love. For example, in the book The Fault in our Stars by John Green, Hazel and Augustus express such love for each other despite their differences. And when something sad happens at the end of the book, it causes the reader to be sad. Another reason 6th graders should be allowed to read more mature books is because they get kids into more real world situations before they have to experience it themselves. For example, in the book Orbiting Jupiter the author throws the reader into a real life situation. 

Why We Shouldn’t Ban Books by Paola & Amy, 7th Grade

Book banning: The horrible act of taking a book deemed “inappropriate” for students and then restricting access to that book. This has been done for years and many people actually think that this helps keep children from certain material. While it actually causes problems. 

It Keeps Important Topics Away From Kids

The biggest problem with banning books is that most of the banned books talk about very important social topics. While many people think that exposing kids to these topics will hurt them, the opposite can actually be said. The more kids learn about these topics, the better educated they are. They could then form their own opinions and even come up with ideas to help other people. Additionally, by keeping these materials away from teens and kids, they might make bad decisions because they’ve never thought about it. And by banning the books, people are making the topics more intriguing.

Why I Like Books About Social Justice by Alex, 8th Grade

I think that social justice books are the best to read for multiple reaasons. One big reason is that social justice is a very relevant topic that goes on daily, whether between a cop and an unarmed man or people of different races experiencing racial tension. I think that no matter what the situation is, it’s always interesting to see it unfold. After reading a book that deals with heavy teantion, I like to put myself in that persn’s shoes and think about how I would have handled the situation. Another reason why I believe that social justice books are interesting is because I have never had to deal with much oppression in my life which is why I think it is good to learn about other people that have dealt with oppression beacuse it makes me feel like I am not ignorant about the situations in our society. Just because I don’t deal with  them, doesn’t mean I should know about them. 

My top social justice books:

  • Ghost by Jason Renolds
  • I Am Alfonso Jones
  • Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
  • Yummy by G. Neri
  • All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
  • Dear Martin by Nic Stone
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Why I Like K.A. Holt Books by Maya, 6th Grade

My first ever K.A. Holt book that I read was House Arrest, and ever since then, I have fallen in love with her writing. After I read House Arrest, I read Knockout, Redwood & Ponytail, and Rhyme Schemer. I love how her books are written like a verse of a poem because not many authors write the way she does and it captures emotions. I also love how in House Arrest she wrote the book over weeks to follow along. Also, I love that House Arrest, Knockout, and Redwood & Ponytail are in a series but you don’t have to read them in a certain order. Redwood & Ponytail was an amazing book to me; it has an important message which is never be afraid to show who you are no matter what others think. Thank you, K.A. Holt, for writing amazing books!

Reasons Why I Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Axel, 6th Grade

I like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series because it is fun to know how Greg lives his life and learn about him. It also includes comedy which makes me laugh time to time while reading it. Greg’s family is really funny and weird and sometimes do embarrassing things which is fun to read about. Greg and Rowley do funny things too–usually activities for their own purposes that always end up as a disaster because Greg tries to imagine how to make everything perfect for him and when he tries to make it perfect, something goes wrong. All of these are why I like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series. Oh! And every year a new book comes out, and so far each one I’ve read is great!

Book Stereotypes That Are NOT TRUE! by Cooper & Jacob, 6th Grade and Mrs. Moye

  • There are girl and boy books.
    • This stereotype has lasted for many years and is still believed vy people. There is no such thing as a girl or a boy book. 
  • Long books are boring
    • Long books are not boring because a long book just has more action and fun in it. 
  • Graphic novels are for children.
    • Graphic novels are for everyone. They have life lessons and the images bring it all together. 
  • Books are the same as movies. 
    • Movies have to cut things out because of time. To get the full story, you have to read the book. 
  • Cool kids don’t read/Only nerds read.
    • Smart people read.
  • Judge books by their cover. 
    • The cover isn’t even chosen by the author and sometimes covers are so misleading!
  • Non-fiction books are boring.
    • Then you aren’t reading the right nonfiction books for you! Try a different kind. 
  • “I don’t have time to read.”
    • Yes you do. You aren’t making time to read. Just 20 minutes a day can impact your life in such a positive way!
  • Children’s books aren’t good. 
    • Any children’s book will prove this wrong because they have a huge impact on the reader. 
  • Independent reading doesn’t help you learn anything./Books are a waste of money.
    • Books can help the reader learn! Instead of playing and buying video games, buy books!

Thank you everyone for your great essays!

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

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Tuesday: Student Voices!: Inspirational Female Characters by Vanessa, Angelina, Georgia, & Natalie

Friday: Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Celebration!: Space Book Roundup and Reaching for the Moon Giveaway
**Giveaway open until Thursday!**

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

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Kellee

We are moving homes here in Orlando, so I am going to take off about 6 weeks to get my family moved and settled. I’ll be back early August.

Ricki

We went on vacation with relatives this week, and you bet we brought a huge stack of new books. Below, I share our favorites within the stack. 🙂

Both the kids and adults enjoyed Bug Off!: A Story of Fireflies and Friendship by Cari Best. One of the main characters within the book is very mean, and I loved watching the adults crinkle their noses as they read her mean comments. This is a great book to talk about bugs, friendship, and inclusion/exclusion.


Go For the Moon: A Rocket, A Boy, and the First Moon Landing by Chris Gall is a wonderful book that integrates narrative and nonfiction. The main character learns about the first moon landing as he builds his own rocketship at home. This is a great book for space lovers!

My family has a special place in our hearts for Sara Varon’s books. We were thrilled to see her new picture book called Hold Hands. We read this book a few dozen times this week, and it was a huge hit. My mom said it was her favorite of the bunch.

Horse Meets Dog by Elliott Kalan and Tim Miller is not a brand new book (it came out last year), but it slipped into our stack. This has been a great book to practice reading with my older son, and it is very funny!

James Yang, please do not stop writing these books. We LOVE Bus! Stop! and we also fell in love with Stop! Bot! These two books are among my favorite read-alouds. We have made many predictions about what he might write about next.

This book (The Great Gran Plan by Elli Woollard) was definitely one of my sons’ favorites of the week. Halfway through the week, we swapped out half of the books with a stack that I’d been saving in my car, and my middle son begged me to “keep the piggy book upstairs.” It is a very fun fractured fairytale.

We were lucky to receive a F&G of The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes, but the finished copy is even more beautiful. I love this book, and it has been great to discuss my oldest son’s imminent entrance to kindergarten. All week, my brother kept asking him if he’d be the “king of kindergarten.”

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Ricki

I am not sure what the week brings. I’ve got a few audiobooks rolling that aren’t enticing me, and I am wondering if I should switch gears to different audiobooks. I am finding it tricky to balance two young kids, a newborn, work, and reading at the moment, so you might be seeing predominantly new YA texts for the next few weeks.

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Tuesday: Student Voices!: Short Essays on Reading and Books by Luis, Star, Paola, Amy, Alex, Maya, Axel, Cooper, & Jacob

Friday: 5 Worlds: The Red Maze by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel

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Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking Apollo 11 mission. To celebrate this momentous celebration, I am happy to share some fantastic space books! (And don’t forget to enter the giveaway!)

Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson
Author: Katherine Johnson
Published July 2nd, 2019 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

The inspiring autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who helped launch Apollo 11.

As a young girl, Katherine Johnson showed an exceptional aptitude for math. In school she quickly skipped ahead several grades and was soon studying complex equations with the support of a professor who saw great promise in her. But ability and opportunity did not always go hand in hand. As an African American and a girl growing up in an era of brutal racism and sexism, Katherine faced daily challenges. Still, she lived her life with her father’s words in mind: “You are no better than anyone else, and nobody else is better than you.”

In the early 1950s, Katherine was thrilled to join the organization that would become NASA. She worked on many of NASA’s biggest projects including the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first men on the moon.

Katherine Johnson’s story was made famous in the bestselling book and Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. Now in Reaching for the Moon she tells her own story for the first time, in a lively autobiography that will inspire young readers everywhere.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11
Author: Brian Floca
Originally Published April 9th, 2019 by Richard Jackson Books

Brian Floca explores Apollo 11’s famed moon landing with this newly expanded edition of Moonshot!

Simply told, grandly shown, and now with eight additional pages of brand-new art and more in-depth information about the historic moon landing, here is the flight of Apollo 11. Here for a new generation of readers and explorers are the steady astronauts clicking themselves into gloves and helmets, strapping themselves into sideways seats. Here are their great machines in all their detail and monumentality, the ROAR of rockets, and the silence of the Moon. Here is a story of adventure and discovery—a story of leaving and returning during the summer of 1969, and a story of home, seen whole, from far away.

Hidden Figures: Young Readers’ Edition
Author: Margot Lee Shetterly
Published November 29th, 2016 by HarperCollins

This edition of Margot Lee Shetterly’s acclaimed book is perfect for young readers. It is the powerful story of four African-American female mathematicians at NASA who helped achieve some of the greatest moments in our space program.

Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

This book brings to life the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, who lived through the Civil Rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the movement for gender equality, and whose work forever changed the face of NASA and the country.

Moon’s First Friends: One Giant Leap for Friendship
Author: Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustrator: Elisa Paganelli
Published May 7th, 2019 by Sourcebook Jabberwocky

A heartwarming story of a friendship-seeking moon that also celebrates the extraordinary 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing!

From high up in the sky, the Moon has spent her whole life watching Earth and hoping for someone to visit. Dinosaurs roam, pyramids are built, and boats are made, but still no one comes. Will friends ever come visit her?

One day a spaceship soars from Earth…and so does her heart.

Includes bonus educational pages about the moon mission!

One Giant Leap: The Story of Neil Armstrong
Author: Don Brown
Published September 24th, 2001 by HMH Books for Young Readers

As a young boy, Neil Armstrong had a recurring dream in which he held his breath and floated high above the people, houses, and cars. He spent his free time reading stacks of flying magazines, building model airplanes, and staring through the homemade telescope mounted on the roof of his neighbor’s garage. As a teenager, Neil became obsessed with the idea of flight, working odd jobs to pay for flying lessons at a nearby airport. He earned his student pilot’s license on his sixteenth birthday. But who was to know that this shy boy, who also loved books and music, would become the first person to set foot on the moon, on July 20, 1969. Here is the inspiring story of one boy’s dream – a dream of flying that landed him more than 200,000 miles away in space, gazing upon the awesome sight of a tiny earth hanging suspended in a perfectly black sky. On the thirtieth anniversary of the moon landing, Don Brown’s expressive story reveals the achievement of this American legend, Neil Armstrong.

Previously Reviewed and Recommended:

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**Thank you to Milena at Simon & Schuster for providing the books for giveaway!**

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The best way to learn what kids are thinking & feeling is by listening to them, so I am happy to share my students’ voices!

Strong Women Characters by Vanessa & Angelina, 8th and 7th Grade

  • Sophie Quire (from Sophie Quire) is strong even though her mother passed away. She stands up for what she believes in and adventures off to attempt to ave what she finds important.
  • Grace Blakely (from All Fall Down) is a brave girl who lost her mother at a young age. She stands up for what she believes is right even when nobody trusts her.
  • Maddie Manchester (from Not If I Save You First) is torn from her past, but she follows her beliefs and stands up for herself. She discovers the truth, stands up to assassins, and protect what’s important.
  • Linh Cinder (from Cinder) is living a normal life until she discovers new truths. Finding companions along the way, she attempts to fight evil and bring them to justice.
  • Agatha (from School for Good and Evil) overcomes her doubts and discovers her own dreams and beliefs.
  • Kestra Dallisor (from The Traitor’s Game) is a runaway princess who tries to escape her present and figure out her past. She protects those who are innocent and close to her.
  • Other favorites:
    • Chaya Lindner (from Resistance)
    • Cammie Morgan (from Gallagher Girls)
    • Alex Bailey (from Land of Stories)
    • Katarina Bishop (from Heist Society)

Most Inspirational Women in Books by Georgia & Natalie, 6th Grade

  • Cassie Sullivan (from The 5th Wave) spent the whole span of The Fifth Wave trying to protect her brother. Even in great sorrow and loss, she made the ultimate sacrifice so her brother could grow up in a safe world.
  • Mare (from The Red Queen) was put in a castle of danger where one wrong move could get her killed. She has to act like a princess to save her family while also being an advocate for a “red”volution.
  • Alyssa (from Dry) is the perfect big sister. She went through hell and back to protect her little brother and was prepared to do the unthinkable to keep her brother from suffering.
  • Cleo (from A Death-Struck Year) risked her life to help the sick. In the midst of an epidemic with no parents or family, 17 year old Cleo went houst to house saving people and risking her life.
  • SPOILERS!!!
    Mallory (from Sword of Summer) sacrificed herself. During a war, a bus was dropping off more soldiers when Loki took control of her body and made her set a bomb on the bus. When she took control back of her body, she deactivated the bomb saving 72 people but died in the process.
  • SPOILERS!!!
    Cinderpelt (from Warriors: The Fourth Apprentice) protects those around her. When every other cat is out of camp, a badger attacks the medicine den. Cinderpelt protects the kittens inside with the cost of her life.
  • Gerta (from A Night Divided) is a 12 year old from East Berlin who got caught between a rock and a hard place when in the middle of the night the Berlin wall was built up around her side of town. In order to protect her family, she faces betrayal, spies, and possibly death. All of this just to save her family.
  • Imogen (from The False Prince) seems like just a common servant but risks her life numerous times to protect someone she cares about.
  • Gina (from The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days) is focused on doing helpful things around her neighborhood at night during the summer. She is spending her time trying to make others’ lives better.
  • Molly (from Castle Hangnail) is the only person that can save Castle Hangnail!

Thank you everyone for your great lists!

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