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If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!  🙂

On Monday, students in our class were invited to bring commercially-made fidget spinners to class, so they could conduct trials to see how long they would spin.

Generally speaking, the heavier the spinner the longer it continued to spin.

Today, students tried making, timing and filming their own spinners (in slo-mo!) Students used a wide array of materials from the classroom and from home, to create some very impressive designs.

These are the results of our student-made spinner trials:

These spinners spun the longest. The one on the left spun 20 seconds; the one on the right spun for 24 seconds.

Here is a video clip of one of our student-made spinners (click the link to download and view):
http://blackdeer.edublogs.org/files/2017/06/1080p-1hg22zd.mov

A fun and educational time was had by all!

The lesson plans we used for this project are available through the "Teachers Pay Teachers" website:
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Fidget-Spinner-STEM-Challenge-3097680

Mrs. Black wants to take this opportunity to wish the students in our class a restful and safe summer.

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

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From February through April, our class had the privilege of hosting a teacher-candidate from Lakehead University's Faculty of Education.

Miss Whipp, who is in the first year of the two-year teacher's college program, spent five Wednesdays observing in our classroom, and then five full weeks observing, co-planning and co-teaching. Miss Whipp started off her five week block teaching one subject. By Week 5 she was teaching almost full-time, in consultation with Mrs. Black.

Here are some pictures of Miss Whipp's time with us:

MATH

 

LITERACY

 

GYM & DAILY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY (DPA)

 

HEALTH

 

SOCIAL STUDIES

 

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FAREWELL PARTY FOR MISS WHIPP!

This afternoon we threw a farewell party for Miss Whipp.  A good time was had by all!

We want to thank Miss Whipp for inspiring us to learn, with her creative and fun lessons.  We loved having her in our class and we are going to miss her!!

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

 

This year, students decided to support the Orillia SPCA with our annual class fund raising event, entitled "Market Day."

This is how Market Day worked:

Students in our class were invited to donate gently used toys, games, books and videos that they no longer needed and were willing to sell to friends. After everything had been collected, students divided the items into three categories, or "stores," created storefront signs, and priced the items they would be selling. All items were priced between 25 cents and a dollar.

Students were then invited to bring up to $5.00 in change, to spend at Market Day. When Market Day arrived, students set up their stores and took turns selling, or browsing and purchasing goods. Then, they counted their profits and we tallied up how much we raised.

In all, students raised $78.90, through their Market Day event.

At the outset, Mrs. Black had promised to match student donations, up to $110. ($5.00 per student), with a donation of her own.

With Mrs. Black's donation added, our total raised for the Orillia SPCA was $157.80!!

Items that were leftover after our sale were donated to Valu Village.

Thank you and congratulations to all the students and parents who supported our fund-raiser with donations of goods and money. We know the Orillia SPCA will put our funds to excellent use!

Mrs. Black also wants to thank her teaching colleague Lisa MacRae, for sharing the idea of Market Day.

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

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In  November and December, our class had the privilege of hosting a teacher-candidate from Lakehead University's Faculty of Education.

Mrs. Tingey began her five weeks in our class with observation.  Then, she gradually assumed responsibility for teaching some of our lessons. By Week 5 she was teaching full-time, in consultation with Mrs. Black.

Here are some images of Mrs. Tingey's time with us:

MATH

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LANGUAGE

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SCIENCE

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GYM and DPA

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MUSIC

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VISUAL ARTS

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We want to thank Mrs. Tingey for the energy and enthusiasm she brings to her teaching. Her excitement about education is contagious and we are really going to miss her!

All the best to Mrs. Tingey in her future career as an educator!

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

This year Grade 1-8 classes, in Area 2 of the Simcoe County District School Board, have moved from a three-part, 60 minute daily math session to six-part, 100-minute daily math.

The components of our new math program are as follows:

1. Foundational Practice:  This includes practice of basic math operations via the book, "Daily Math Review," drills, math games and flash cards.

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2. "Strings":  This part of our daily math program entails a guided discussion of mental math strategies used to solve basic multiplication equations.  Our "strings" resource is, "Minilessons for Early Multiplication and Division: A Yearlong Resource."

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3. Forward/Back: The third part of our 100-minute math session involves reviewing previously studied math concepts, for which extra review would be helpful, OR pre-teaching upcoming math concepts, in order to ensure that students have some familiarity with them.

4.-6. Our traditional Three-Part Math Lesson:  This part of our daily math session includes a "Minds-on," Lesson & Independent Practice, and Consolidation. An exit ticket is often used, following consolidation, to gauge how many/which students fully comprehended the lesson concepts and how many/which students would benefit from further work in a "Forward/Back" segment.

Our three-part math lesson follows the Simcoe County District School Board's "Course of Study in Math," and utilizes such resources as Nelson Math 5, Supersource Math Resource and the Ministry's Effective Guides to Instruction in Math.

This is a sample of the Grade 5 Course of Study Overview and outline for Unit 1:

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We are hoping that the extra time and program components will help to shore up some of our students' math skills.

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 HERE ARE SOME MATH RESOURCES YOU CAN USE AT HOME

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.caor to add a comment to this page.

This fall, our Grade 5 class took the lead in advertising and organizing our school's "food drive for orphaned wildlife." We used media literacy skills to encourage students from Kindergarten through Grade 8, as well as school staff, to collect and contribute items such as acorns, pine cones, maple keys, apples, sumac and black walnuts.

Orphaned baby animals that are overwintering at wildlife rehabilitation centres need to be provided with food from the natural environment, so they will know what to look for after they are released back into the wild. Our school's food contributions will go a long way toward sustaining and educating the babies at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary (Rosseau), Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge (Pefferlaw) and Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary (Minden) throughout the winter months.

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Each Friday, the class weighed, measured and estimated the number of food items we were shipping out to a particular sanctuary.

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Then students packed the food and helped Mrs. Black load it into her car.

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Here are three of four carloads of food we shipped to local wildlife sanctuaries this fall:

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img_5595Staff and volunteers at the wildlife rehabilitation centres, such as these people at Aspen Valley Wildlife Centre, in Rosseau, were most grateful for our assistance!

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...as were the many orphaned animals who will benefit from the fruits of our labour all winter long!

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(Orphaned fawns enjoying our food at Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary, in Minden.)

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After all of our deliveries were complete, we collected an additional box of food for the non-releasable squirrels that reside at Speaking of Wildlife (formerly the outreach arm of Muskoka Wildlife Centre).  Our friend Krystal, who now owns that company, brought one of her "ambassador squirrels" to class, when she picked up the food.  Squirt is a youngster who had been someone's illegal pet, briefly, and is too habituated to humans to live in the wild. The class loved meeting Squirt and learning about these clever and industrious little animals.

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

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This year, we had the privilege of hosting a teacher-candidate from Lakehead University in a May-June placement.  Miss Brew was a fun and engaging student teacher. She will be fondly remembered for her creative approach, which included a hands-on, centres-based science unit, a video introduction to persuasive letter writing, a poetry cafe, and the "get it together" classroom management system she developed to motivate students to stay on task.

Here are some pictures of Miss Brew in action, over the past five weeks:

LANGUAGE

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MATH

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SCIENCE

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PHYSICAL EDUCATION

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DANCE

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MISS BREW'S "GET IT TOGETHER" BOARD

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MISS BREW'S GRADUATION PARTY!

Miss Brew completed her placement and her Bachelor of Education degree today! She also completed a Bachelor of Arts degree this year. We threw a graduation party for her:

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Mrs. Black's gift to Miss Brew:  "Me to WE" merchandise that provides assistance to children in developing nations:

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Congratulations, Miss Brew!  We can't wait to follow your future adventures as an educator!

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.caor to add a comment to this page.

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In March and April, we had the pleasure of hosting Lakehead University Faculty of Education teacher-candidate Amanda Medeiros in our class. "Miss M." observed Mrs. Black during her first week with us, and then started taught the class in weeks 2-5, starting with Math and DPA and adding one or two subjects each week.

Here are some pictures of Miss M. in action!

MATH

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DAILY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY & GYM (Volleyball)

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DRAMA

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HEALTH

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SOCIAL STUDIES

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LITERACY

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MISS M'S "GRADUATION PARTY"!

As of today (Tuesday, April 26th), Miss M. has fulfilled all of the requirements for her B.A. and B.Ed. degrees!  We threw her a party, to celebrate!!

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IMG_3695IMG_3684We loved having Miss M. in our class, and wish her all the best in her future as an educator!  🙂

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

IMG_2685-cropped This project is a follow-up to Rama Central's "Food Drive for Orphaned Wildlife," which received second prize and a $2,000. grant in the 2015 Our Canada Project Award competition. This is an earlier blog post that describes the wildlife food drive and award:

In consultation with local wildlife rehabilitators, we decided to invest our $2,000. award in materials to construct wooden sleeping boxes for orphaned squirrels, flying squirrels, chipmunks and opossums, being raised for release back into the wild. We had Orillia Home Hardware supply us with the pre-cut plywood, hardware and glue to construct 96 squirrel boxes and 5 opossum boxes. IMG_2485 The Grade 7 and Grade 8 classes took the lead on this project. They helped organized the materials, learned how to construct boxes, and shared their knowledge and skill with students in Grades 3-6. IMG_2504IMG_2508 Tools, hardware, gloves, and a "practice box" under construction: IMG_2510 Grade 7 and 8 students learning how to make boxes, on gym workshop Day 1: IMG_2532 IMG_2546 IMG_2533 IMG_2545 IMG_2548Our class building boxes with the Grade 8's, on gym workshop Day 2: IMG_2634 IMG_2637IMG_2640 IMG_2642 IMG_2643 After they learned how to construct boxes from the Grade 8's, students in our Grade 5 class constructed some boxes on their own, back in the classroom: IMG_2664 IMG_2665
IMG_2667IMG_2669 IMG_2671 Students were invited to autograph the bottoms of boxes they had constructed: IMG_2563 IMG_2561 This photo depicts about 70 finished squirrel boxes, being stored temporarily in one of the change rooms attached to the gym:IMG_2686 Mrs. Black offered to deliver twelve sleeping boxes (the most the would fit in her car) to each of four local wildlife rehabilitation centres, over four weekends. The wildlife sanctuaries have been asked to send someone to the school to pick up the balance of their boxes. logos IMG_2623 Box Shipment #1 went to Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge, near Pefferlaw: IMG_2629 Our boxes will be used to protect orphaned squirrels, flying squirrels, chipmunks and opossums from the elements, until they are old enough to be released back into the wild. This is one of our squirrel boxes, mounted in a "pre-release enclosure" at Shades of Hope Wildlife Sanctuary: IMG_2632 Box Shipment #2 went to Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary, near Minden: IMG_0307 This little Flying Squirrel, who is overwintering at Woodlands, gave our boxes her seal of approval! flyer-box IMG_0317 flyer

Box Shipment #3 went to Procyon Wildlife, near Beeton:

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Box Shipment #4 was delivered to Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, near Rosseau:

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This is a video of the Shelters project that our class made, for Learning for a Sustainable Future:

This is coverage of our Shelters project on CTV Barrie news:

ctv-barrie-screencaphttp://barrie.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=819830&binId=1.1272429&playlistPageNum=1

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We want to thank Learning for a Sustainable Future and the RBC Foundation, for making this project possible. We also want to give a HUGE shout-out to Wayne and Tom (pictured), and Bill, at Orillia Home Hardware. They did an absolutely stellar job pulling all the materials together for us. That included pre-cutting, packing and delivering the wood for 96 squirrel boxes and 5 opossum boxes! IMG_2661

The Orillia Home Hardware team also offered to host a display that Mrs. Black made in the store foyer, over the March Break:
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Last but not least, we couldn't have assembled 96 squirrel boxes so quickly and painlessly without the assistance of our amazing Grade 7 and 8 teachers, Mr. Westcott and Mrs. Ross, and their students!  Thank you all!!! IMG_2658 (T-shirts courtesy of Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge)

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Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

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The Yukon Quest is a 1,000 mile sled dog race between Fairbanks, Alaska and Whitehorse, in the Yukon. This year, 23 mushers and their 14-dog teams braved the elements for nine to twelve days, traveling scantily marked trails, over mountain ranges, along frozen rivers and through forests, stopping to resupply at just ten checkpoints along the route. Our class was particularly interested in following Hank Debruin and his team of Siberian Huskies, from Haliburton, Ontario. They have completed both the 1,000 mile Iditarod, and the Yukon Quest twice before.

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Prior to the February 6th start of the Yukon Quest, students watched videos and read articles that provided background about Alaskan and Siberian Huskies, the equipment and food that mushers use on the trail, and the challenges they were likely to face in the northern wilderness.

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Next, students wrote mini-biographies about all of the musher's in this year's race, by summarizing information posted on the Yukon Quest website. Students were particularly impressed to learn that one of this year's rookie mushers was a nineteen year old girl from Minnesota. Other mushers hailed from across North America and Europe. One musher was a Japanese woman, now living and training in Whitehorse.

IMG_2387Another aspect of our Yukon Quest unit was a reading challenge. The goal was to read for 1,000 minutes faster than Hank Debruin and his dogs could run 1,000 miles on the trail. We tracked everyone's progress on a door-sized graph.

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All of the mushers carry SPOT Trackers on their sleds, so each morning we went online to see how far the teams had progressed on the trail. We plotted Hank's progress on a trail map.

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We also graphed and compared the temperature in Washago with the temperature in Alaska/Yukon, throughout the race. At one point, we were surprised to see that it was colder in Central Ontario than in the far north!

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Our temperature is in red. Hank's is in blue!

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We also practiced estimating and calculating elapsed time, by trying to predict when Hank's team would reach one of the checkpoints based on his position and the speed he was moving. Groups of students then shared the methods they used to calculate an answer, and their time estimates.

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Hank beat our Eagle checkpoint estimate by 10 minutes. All of the dogs he was running, at that point in the race, were veterans of the 2014 Quest, so they knew the trail. We are guessing the team sped up on their final approach to Eagle, knowing that they would soon be receiving a warm meal and a nice, long rest!

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Mushers start with 14 dogs, and can drop off dogs that are not feeling up to continuing, at any checkpoint. However, once a dog is dropped it cannot be replaced or resume the race. Dropped dogs are cared for by the musher's support team until the race is over.

Unfortunately, this year Hank had many road blocks thrown in his path from the very beginning. In the first three days after leaving the start line in Fairbanks, Hank and some of his dogs experienced ill health, and an important trail sign disappeared, causing Hank and several other mushers to take a lengthy, incorrect detour in the mountains, and then backtrack to the main trail. One of Hank's dogs, "Charlie," who had not been exhibiting any signs of illness and had just been cleared by race vets (dogs receive mandatory vet exams at most checkpoints), collapsed on the trail without warning, and had to be rushed back to the previous checkpoint, at Central, for medical care. Fortunately, she made a full recovery.

Illness, detours and caring for Charlie added many more miles to the early days of Hank's Quest. On the evening of Day 3, Hank left the Circle checkpoint in last place by ten hours, with just nine dogs on his team. Despite this, he continued down the frozen Yukon River, to Eagle, Alaska.

These are photos Hank's wife, Tanya, took of the team leaving for Eagle:

Circle2 Circle3 Circle4After leaving the Eagle checkpoint, Hank's team ascended a peak called American Summit. When he was almost at the top, he turned around and headed back down the mountain to Eagle. We found out later that he had encountered blizzard conditions, and elected to return to the safety of the previous checkpoint overnight, for the sake of the dogs. When dawn rose the following day, the trail had been obliterated by one to two feet of drifting snow, and Hank didn't have the heart to ask his small team to re-climb the mountain and then break trail on their own for over 100 miles, just to reach the mid-point of the race in Dawson City. For the first time in his racing career, Hank decided to end his race early.

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Although sad to see Hank's race end early, students in our class understood that Hank had put the welfare of his dogs ahead of his aspirations to complete the race. Hank became a hero to our class, in a way that he likely cannot even imagine. Students sent Hank heartfelt messages of support, and elected to finish the race on his behalf by continuing their reading challenge until the last musher in the race crossed the finish line.

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This year's totals, in the Hank Debruin Reading Challenge," are impressive! Students in our class read for a combined total of 40,055 minutes, over three weeks. We want to sincerely thank Hank Debruin, his wife Tanya, and their amazing dogs for inspiring so much great learning, via their Quest!! We are hoping Hank will come to class, to present the reading challenge certificates, and share some of his amazing Iditarod and Yukon Quest experiences, once the racing season is over.

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In related news... Earlier in the school year, Mrs. Black won a copy of a novel about dog sledding, written by an author living in Whitefish Falls, Ontario. Throughout the month of February, we enjoyed the book as our class read-aloud. The author, Terry Lynn Johnson, will be Skyping with us about the book, and her experiences as a dog sledder, author and conservation officer in early March!

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Other curriculum-based ideas and resources for tracking the Yukon Quest with students are located on Mrs. Black's website: http://blackdeer.ca/YukonQuest11/index.html

Thank you for visiting our class BLOG.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to e-mail me (Margaret Black):  mblack@scdsb.on.ca or to add a comment to this page.

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