Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Flannel Color Books

I have a 4 month old niece and nephew and this year for Christmas I decided to make them flannel color books based on this idea.  If you are going to do something like this, don't start December 1st.

The letters are all made from the Cricut Birthday Bash cartridge.  They are 1 1/2 inches tall.  Most of the shapes are various AccuCut dies and Cricut shapes that I had floating around.  The felt shapes were glued to the felt (use small dots to adhere if you are going to sew too).  To outline the shapes, I used a blanket stitch.  The book is bound together with 1 inch binder rings.

The purple one is my favorite because the wings actually flap!
If you decide to make one on your own, expect to spend 2-3 hours on each page.  These take a lot of time to put together, but the giftee will love them!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Handprint Christmas Trees

My nieces (and now 1 nephew) and I have always tried to come up with a Christmas gift that they all can work on that we can pass out to the aunts, uncles, and grandparents on Christmas Eve.  This year we decided to make handprint Christmas trees.

Supplies Needed
  • We used an 11x17 canvas from Michaels because they sold them in a 7-pack and the size was big enough for everyone's hands.
  • Paint-green, brown, yellow, red, purple, blue, orange
  • Paper plates
  • Baby wipes
  • Ultra fine point Sharpie

We started this project on a day when all of the kids were at Nana's house.  Green paint was spread on a paper plate and each kid dipped their hand in paint and added it to the tree.  Our family is kind of large so we needed to paint five canvases.  Then we set them aside to dry.  This year we learned that babies don't always like to dip their hands into paint so it helps if you have a paint brush handy so you can paint their hand as you spread out their fingers.
On a different day, one of my nieces and I sat down and finished the pictures.  I added stars to the top of the trees and trunks to the bottom.

We added a garland to each tree using our fingerprints.

My niece had a great time adding ornaments in different colors.  You will want baby wipes handy as they are great for wiping fingers in between the colors.
I am kind of impressed by how they turned out!  We are going to take an Ultra Fine Point Sharpie and label each hand and add "2012" to the side of the canvas.  This weekend the girls will wrap the paintings and decide who gets what and we will pass them out for Christmas.

Shape Clifford Craft

We are preparing to celebrate Clifford's 50th birthday this February with a big birthday party.  While it is slow over the holidays, I came up with this pattern.  I like it because it uses shapes to create Clifford's face.

Supplies Needed:
  • 2 pieces of red paper
  • 1 piece of black paper
  • 1 piece of pink paper
  • 1 piece of white paper
  • 1 glue stick
  • Shape Clifford pattern
When making them with a group of toddlers or preschoolers, I precut all of the pieces so the kids just have to glue.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chocolate Handprint Reindeer

One of our biggest activities of the year is making chocolate handprint reindeer ornaments in December. 

Supplies Needed:
  • White cardstock circles for handprints.  We have a circle cutter that makes 6 inch circles that works great.
  • With a group this size, we use 3 large boxes of chocate pudding.  Make it according to the directions on the box (so you will need a gallon of milk too).
  • Disposable foil trays to hold the chocolate pudding
  • 3 rolls of ribbon for hanging
  • Sticker eyes
  • Red circle stickers (We use Avery #5466)
  • 2 rolls of paper towels
  • 1 package of baby wipes
  • A couple of brown crayons
  • Access to a laminator
With 2 librarians, we run through 80-90 kids comfortably in three hours. I would encourage registration. We stagger the registration times by age every thirty minutes. For example, 9 & 9:30 are 0-24 months, 10 & 10:30 are 2-3 year olds, and 11 & 11:30 are 3-6 year olds. By doing it this way, you can keep the group smaller with the babies, who will need more help (we run 10 in a time slot) and increase the attendance for the older kids (15 3 year olds). Since we do registration, we have an Avery address label already printed up with each child's name and the date that we put on the back of each circle.

Also, if you advertise the program, make sure you use "chocolate pudding" in the program description.  Some children with food allergies will not be able to do the project (or you can pull out brown crayons for them to make their "hand").

How the Program Works:
The kids come in and make their handprints using chocolate pudding.  We let each child make 1 print.  (Some of the moms will ask to redo them because they don't always look like hands, but once you add eyes and a nose, it will look great.)  We lay all of the circles out to dry.  Some will be done in an hour, but many will take 12-24 hours.

On the staff side, we add sticker eyes and a nose when the pudding is dry.  The circles are run through laminator, a hole is punched in the top, and a ribbon is strung through to create an ornament.  When we advertise the event, we also advertise a pick-up day that is 4 days later so we can get our part done.

Why we do this:
First, this is a lot of fun.  As kids make their handprints, you can also suggest to parents that chocolate pudding is a great way to fingerpaint at home (trust me, they love new ideas).  Secondly, as kids pull out their ornament year after year, they will remember that they made it at the library.  It is a great plug for us!

Miscellaneous Stuff:
  • You will want a couple of brown crayons for kids with food allergies or those who don't want to get dirty.  We were really surprised last year when kids did not want to put their hands in chocolate pudding (about 1/10 of the kids).
  • When trying to get the kids to put their hand in chocolate pudding, we told them to make a "high-five" in the pudding and then on the circle.  They understood this much better than their mom telling them to spread out their fingers.
  • The gloppier the chocolate pudding on the handprint, the longer it will take to dry.  If you are in a hurry, you can either blot the glops with paper towel or use a plastic spoon to scrape some off before it starts to dry.
  • If you use a hot laminator and there are glops, the pudding can melt and spread.

For some additional fun, here are some of the handprints that my nieces have made over the years!  After awhile, you do run out of room on your Christmas tree.

Flannel Friday-Unicorn Finger Puppet

Okay, I'll be honest-this didn't start as a story time project.  It came out of a Secret Santa gift.  When I finished it, I thought that it would be great for Flannel Friday.

Honestly, who doesn't need a unicorn finger puppet?  To make your own, grab some felt and this pattern.  To make it look really nice, you can use a blanket stitch to put it all together (tutorial found here).  Tacky glue would also work.  If you get really good and make five of them, you can do this nifty rhyme.

Five little unicorns playing in the sun.
The first one said, "I'm having lots of fun."
The second one said, "See my shiny horn."
The third one said, "Of course, you're a unicorn."
The fourth one said, "I am as white as the snow."
The fifth one said, "So are we, you know."
This week's round-up is at Miss Courtney Meets Bobo. There will be a 2 week holiday break, then I will be hosting January 4.  Feel free to start crafting early!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Toddler Crafts-Holiday Crafts

This holiday season we ran a toddler crafts program for 26 2 & 3 year olds.  The important things to remember when running a toddler craft program are to focus on one skill per craft and to have everything set up ahead of time.  To see how we set up our toddler craft program, check here for a previous post.

Craft 1: Christmas Tree Ornaments
I have recently found that paint samples are a great craft supply, especially when working with young children.  For this craft, we used Behr green paint samples (the one with Jungle Green at the bottom).  If you ask, your local Home Depot paint department will help you out, especially if you are in the same area as their store.  Cut your sample into a triangle shape and punch a hole at the top.  We prestrung all of our samples so all the kids had to do was add stickers.  Oriental Trading sold us Christmas mini stickers, which fit perfectly on our trees to decorate them.  They were also easy to peel for little hands.  The parents loved this craft and many mentioned that they would also be visiting Home Depot for their own green paint samples!

Craft 2: Paper Bag Snowman
As with most of our crafts, we had all of the snowman's parts precut and inside of the white paper bag.  A pattern is available here.  The kids' job was to glue the parts onto the white paper bag.  The results of this craft were surprisingly fun as the kids came up with their own ideas of what the snowman should look like.  Some flipped their bag over and made their snowman into a puppet.  One kid used the red hatband as the snowman's mouth and the extra black circles as buttons because their snowman needed a smile.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Flannel Friday-The Runaway Cookie Parade

I don't know about you, but for me, one of the most fun parts of the holiday season is the cookie baking.  Here's a cookie flannelboard that can fit holiday or cookie story times.  It could also work with patterns.

This flannelboard is on pages 163-164 of The Complete Book of Activities, Games, Stories, Props, Recipes, and Dances by Pamela Schiller.  We keep our copy in professional reference because there is a lot of good stuff in here (really, you should interloan a copy if you don't have it).  Due to copyright, I can't tell you the whole story, but here are the basics.

A girl named Linda made 5 different cookie shapes-a duck, a rabbit, a dog, a cat, and a bear.  Then she decorated them fancy-with dots, stripes, swirls, x's, and plaid.  (I also like the matching aspect of this story.)  At the end of the story, after all of the cookies are in the cookie jar, they sneak out and dance away.

Cate is hosting this week's round-up at Storytiming.  Have a great week!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Santa Claus, Santa Claus

Welcome to Holiday Round-Up week!  I will be showing you Santa Claus, Santa Claus, What Do You See?  This is a great flannelboard that I have been using through my whole career because it works with a variety of group sizes and ages.  I will even pull it out when we have Santa visit our library for a group of 75.

The images are all clip art in Microsoft Publisher.  Because there are 12 of them, I number the backs (so I know what is coming next) and number my rhyme sheet (so I can match the right item).

(To the tune of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?)
Santa Claus, Santa Claus, what do you see?
I see a Christmas sleigh looking at me.
Christmas sleigh, Christmas sleigh, what do you see?
I see Rudolph looking at me.
Rudolph, Rudolph, what do you see?
I see a Christmas stocking looking at me.
Christmas stocking, Christmas stocking, what do you see?
I see a Christmas tree looking at me.

Christmas tree, Christmas tree, what do you see?
I see a Christmas bell looking at me.
Christmas bell, Christmas bell, what do you see?
I see a golden star looking at me.
Golden star, golden star, what do you see?
I see a Christmas ornament looking at me.
Christmas ornament, Christmas ornament what do you see?
I see a candy cane looking at me.
Candy cane, candy cane, what do you see?
I see a gingerbread boy looking at me.
Gingerbread boy, gingerbread boy, what do you see?
I see a Christmas present looking at me.
Christmas present, Christmas present, what do you see?
I see children looking at me.
Children, children, what do you see?
We see Santa Claus, a Christmas sleigh, Rudolph, a Christmas tree, a Christmas bell, a golden star, a Christmas ornament, a candy cane, a gingerbread boy, and a Christmas present looking at us.
The Holiday Round-Up is hosted by Linda at Notes from the Story Room.  For more Flannel Friday fun, check out the Flannel Friday blog or Pinterest page!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Flannel Friday-Toot Toot!

A couple of years ago I was planning a sensory story time and ran across this rhyme on an ALSC blog post.  I loved it so much that I "borrowed" it and used clip art and pictures to make the artwork for the flannelized version.  What I really like about this rhyme is the pairing of foods and the critical thinking skills that kids use when coming up with replies.  After all, what can you make with a smooshed peanut?  How about an apple?  There are many directions that you can take this from just saying the original rhyme to adding more verses with the kids.  Trust me, they will come up with MANY ideas.

The rhyme goes:
A peanut sat on the railroad track; its heart was all a-flutter
The five-fifteen came rushing by-Toot! Toot! Peanut butter!

A lemon sat on the railroad track; its heart was all a-flutter
The five-fifteen came rushing by-Toot! Toot! Lemonade!

A pea sat on the railroad track; its heart was all a-flutter
The five-fifteen came rushing by-Toot! Toot! Split pea soup!
An apple sat on the railroad track; its heart was all a-flutter
The five-fifteen came rushing by-Toot! Toot! Applesauce!
A strawberry sat on the railroad track; its heart was all a-flutter
The five-fifteen came rushing by-Toot! Toot! Strawberry jam!
If you are saying the rhyme, it makes it more fun if you pause after saying "Toot! Toot"  This gives the kids a chance to guess (or think about guessing).
Loons and Quines is hosting this week's round-up.  Stop on by!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Flannel Friday-The Shirt Song

I was reminded of a great song for story time this week while sitting in a session at the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference.  This song works really well with smaller groups or sensory story times (I got the idea from a special needs story time webinar).

To start off, you will need a whole bunch of flannel shirts in different colors.  This is a great excuse to raid your scrap bins!  Ask the kids to come up and pick out their color shirt from the stack and add it to the flannelboard.  As they add it, sing the song below.

To the tune of Mary Wore a Red Shirt

Lisa wore a purple shirt,
Purple shirt, purple shirt.
Lisa wore a purple shirt
All day long.
The next verse would be whatever color shirt the next child picks out.  Since you are singing a song with names, it helps if the kids either wear nametags or if you introduce yourselves as they come in the room.  To give credit where credit is due, this song came to me via Barabara Klipper from The Ferguson Library.
This week's Flannel Friday round-up is hosted by Future Librarian Superhero.  Have a great week!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Flannel Friday-Thanksgiving Extravaganza

As a part of the Flannel Friday Thanksgiving Extravaganza, I bring you Turkey Feathers.  I like this rhyme because you can give every kid in your program a feather and they can place it on the board.  I found this rhyme in Felt Board Fingerplays by Dick and Liz Wilmes, but I didn't use their patterns for the feathers.  Since I was making so many, I found a feather AccuCut die at our local MISD and used it to cut a whole bunch of feathers out of brightly colored copy paper.

To the tune of Are You Sleeping?
Turkey feathers, turkey feathers
Brightly colored, brightly colored.
Who has a red one?
Who has a red one?
Add it now.  Add it now.
I repeat the rhyme with yellow, green, blue and purple so
eventually my turkey can look like this:
The thing that you will want to keep in mind with this rhyme is time management.  If you let 30 kids come up to the flannelboard, it could take 10 minutes to get the kids up and back, the feathers cleaned off, and time to sing the verses.  You will also have the stragglers who will stand the whole time at the flannelboard just petting it.  Many times when this happens, I tell them that they can play with the rhyme after story time, then I actually leave the turkey and the feathers out in the room for them to play with.  With 2 year olds, listening skills are very important as they are just learning when it is appropriate to sit or stand.  This is a good activity to reinforce those skills.
This week's round-up is hosted at Trails & Tales.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Flannel Friday-Baseball Fever

With the Detroit Tigers in the World Series, I have baseball fever.  Unfortunately, there are not a lot of good baseball flannelboards out there (something to fix in the future!).  I found the best of what I have that has a baseball in it.  This flannelboard game came from Storytime Magic by Kathy MacMillan and Christine Kirker.  What is really nice about this book is that the rhymes are in the book and the book directs you to patterns housed on ALA's web site.  I like patterns.  :)

Due to copyright rules, I will just give you one line of the guessing game.  The rest can be seen in the book (or you can email me).
I'm small and white.  After a hard hit I fly through the air!  What sport do you play with me?
I am hosting this week's round-up!  Check it out at Libraryland

Play to Learn-Nursery Rhymes

This month's program followed the theme of nursery rhymes.  I really like using nursery rhymes with young children because of their songlike quality.  When you use songs, you slow down the language, which helps young children to hear word parts and understand what you are saying.

Station 1: Making Nametags
I had precut 5 shapes with our AccuCut machine (kitten, cow, lamb, teddy bear, and pig).  The shapes were the closest animals that I could find to represent various nursery rhymes.  The kids could pick out their shapes, write their name on them, and attach them to their shirts with tape.  To assist the kids in writing their names, I typed out all of their first names on a piece of paper and ran a couple of copies to put at this station.  This way they could also recognize their name from the list and try to duplicate the letters if they aren't quite ready to spell their name on their own.

As librarians, we know that learning to read and learning to write go together.  At this station, the children are learning to recognize letters and how they are formed.  They are also strengthening their hand muscles as they write (kind of like exercise) so they can eventually write smaller letters and longer sentences.

Station 2: Which is Your Favorite?
I took the 5 shapes from above and wrote out the nursery rhyme that goes with them on each shape.  Then I stuck them to the wall above a piece of blank paper.  As kids come to this station, we asked them to read the rhyme and choose their favorite.  When the chose, we asked them to write their name on the paper by the shape.

This station was easy to put together, but it was very important because it put a lot of our ECRR2 skills together.  First, the parents are reading the rhymes, which promotes a love of reading.  Because of the songlike nature of the rhymes, the language is slowed down so children can hear all of the parts of the words.  As they choose which rhyme is their favorite, they are using letter knowledge to write their name.  As an added bonus, we are using early math skills by looking at the papers and seeing which rhymes the kids like the most (graphing skill).

Station 3: Make a Book
I used the Hey Diddle, Diddle mini-book that is in Literacy Centers and Activities for Nursery Rhymes, Volume 1.  The kids colored the pages and stapled the book together.

By completing this book, the kids were working on their comprehension skill.  This means that they are learning that words have meaning.  The illustrations match the simple text so you can see that there is a cow jumping over the moon right next to the words "cow jumped over the moon".  Coloring is also an exercise which develops strength in the kids' fingers, which helps them get strong enough to write.

Station 4: Baa Baa Color Sheep
We started off by providing a sheep pattern run off on cardstock.  This made it sturdier when the kids carried their creations away from the station.  We had colored tissue paper grass left over from a previous collage craft event that we used as the wool.  A little bit of grass will go a long way with this craft.  The kids glued their "wool" onto their sheep, then wrote the name of the color in the blank space.

If you use the grass, you will want a vacuum cleaner on hand to help clean up when the program is over.  If you would like to make this craft less messy, try using colored paper shapes, such as circles or squares.  While I preferred using the grass because of its sensory quality, not everybody can handle the mess that comes with it.

By using a glue stick to glue the "wool" on the sheep, the kids are working on their fine motor skills.  This also is exercise to help their hands get ready to write.  As the kids write the color name in the blank, they are learning that words have meaning (the wool should match the color name).

Station 5: Little Miss Muffet Magnet Rhyme
This station came out of  October/November 2008 issue of The Mailbox.  Little Miss Muffet was written out with the "t" dropped from the word tuffet.  We put magnetic letters on the board and had the kids add those letters to the rhyme and sound out the new word.  It helps if you pull out only consonants, such as b, p, or s.

At this station, the kids learned that letters have sounds and that those sounds are parts of words.  By playing with the word "tuffet", the kids were able to play with those sounds while having fun.

Station 6: Read the Story
We put this station in the same area as Stations 7 and 8 as a lot of the activities go together.  First, I gathered up a lot of our nursery rhyme books in a variety of formats.

Then we made many of the folder stories in Literacy Centers and Activities for Nursery Rhymes, Volumes 1 and 2.  The kids had a lot of fun with these because many have flaps or movable parts.

The kids practiced reading at this station, which encourages them to learn how to read on their own.  By sharing reading with their children, parents were helping them to develop vocabulary and comprehension, nurturing a love of reading, and motivating their children to want to learn to read.
Station 7: Baa Baa Shape Sheep
This flannelboard activity came from Making Learning Fun. (Note-if you aren't familiar with this site and work with children, bookmark it!)  We put out the flannel sheep and the rhyme and the kids had a great time playing.  Not only would they recite the rhyme, they would sort all of the sheep (another math skill!).

Station 8: Stick Puppet Theater
I created a bunch of the stick puppets from Literacy Centers and Activities for Nursery Rhymes, Volumes 1 and 2.  Then I created a puppet theater for the kids as seen here.  What was fun as that a lot of the times the parents would sit on one side and the kids would sit on the other.  Then they would each put on a show for the other side.

I do have to say that this Play to Learn took a lot of work to put together.  Our library system is starting to put together kits so we can trade throughout the branches.  This became the first one.

Flannel Friday Round-Up

It's Friday, which means it is time for some great Flannel Friday ideas!

Just in time for Halloween, Anne at So Tomorrow brings us Five Little Pumpkins.

If you are looking for an adorable monster to use with your flannelboards, check out Dorothy's Polka Dotty Monster.  Dorothy has asked for help with a poem or rhyme to go with it, so get your creative juices flowing and help her out!

Do you need another Halloween flannelboard?  The Perfect Pumpkin at Miss Courtney Meets Bobo is a great interactive story.

How do you explain the concept of scary to small children?  Kay at Storytime ABC's gives us a great way to do so with a poem and a giggling ghost.

If you have missed the ongoing discussion lately on the Flannelboard Friday Facebook page, you will definitely want to check out Sarah's It Started with a Sneeze to see her full sneezing story time.

Mis Mary Liberry shows us how to create a robot out of shapes, while pulling out a whole bunch of early childhood skills like print awareness, sorting, and learning vocabulary.  This would also make a great craft!

It always makes me excited to see Pete the Cat as the first flannelboard on a page.  (I am a HUGE Pete the Cat fan!)  Busy Crafting Mommy shows us her Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons, her rendition of Dog in Boots, and a flannelized version of How Do I Put It On?  Altogether, you have a great clothing story time! 

Pete the Cat also appears at 1234 More Storytimes as we look for his missing buttons in the flannelboard game Button Button, Who's Got the Button.

Notes from the Story Room shows us how to create reversible stick puppets for a retelling of "The Fox and the Crab Have a Race".  It is part of her upcoming family story time on "tails", which I think is a really interesting theme.

The Library Lady reminds us all that imagination is a powerful tool and that we as educators can show the parents ways to do this.  She gives us the actions for "On Halloween Night" to use with our groups.

How many of us can actually say that we have a flannelboard that will work with the letter X?  Storytime Kate gives us X-Rays!  Yes, they really look like x-rays, but would work great for a letter X story time, a doctor story time, or one about parts of the body.

Amanda brings us 2 bird story times at Trails & Tales.  The first is about water birds (and I love the craft idea).  The second is about raptors

Mother Goose goes pink at Piper Loves the Library.  She gives us a really interesting idea to support breast cancer awareness month in story time.

My Tigers are in the World Series so I had to find something with a baseball in it.  You can play the Ball Guessing Game at Libraryland

Enjoy!  If you haven't been here before, make sure you stop by the Flannel Friday Pinterest page or our Flannel Friday blog for more information.  Next week Trails and Tails will be hosting our Thanksgiving Extravaganza.  Start pulling together your turkey flannelboards now!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Flannel Friday-Mouse Shapes

We have a shape story time coming up and it is really hard to find good flannelboards on this subject.  I took the book Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh and partially flannelized it.  You'll see what I mean below.  There are a lot of great basic shapes in this book that combine to make things, such as wagons or books.

In the picture above, you can see a tree made out of 1 green triangle and 1 brown rectangle.  There is a sun made out of 1 yellow circle.  A house is made out of 1 red square and 1 red triangle.  The wagon is made out of 1 orange rectangle and 2 blue circles.  Finally, the book is made out of 2 turquoise trapezoids.

To help keep the shape creations straight, I added a picture index in the front of the file folder in which I store the flannelboard.

Of course, there are a lot of complicated creations made out of shapes so I copied those, laminated them, and added velcro to the back.

This week's round-up is hosted by Mollie at What Happens in Storytime.  Stop by to check out all of the great ideas!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Flannel Friday-Props!

I have been inspired by Flannel Friday this fall and have been building props to use for my various story times and programs.  They all use 36x48 trifold presentation boards, because I can fold them flat when I am done with them for storage.

The first creation originally came from Future Librarian Superhero when she created her house-shaped finger puppet stage.  I loved the idea, but it wasn't something that I could use with a group of 30+ kids and their parents due to its size.  So presentation board #1 was cut, painted with blue paint, and had foam details added.  I couldn't fit the door and make it look symmetrical.  With the bigger windows I was able to use larger puppets to go through the windows.

As an added bonus, while I was painting this house, I happened upon a prop poem in Books in Bloom: Creative Patterns & Props that Bring Stories to Life by Kimberly Faurot called "Mouse House".  It worked great with the kids because they liked the interactive part of the poem where they got to call the mouse.  They also liked that mice hid behind the windows.

Well, it didn't stop there.  Future Librarian Superhero also created a cool barn out of a cardboard box.  I needed mine to be able to collapse flat, so once again I pulled out my display board, cut a door in it, and painted it red.  To add an early literacy component to it, I named my farm and put a sign at the top of the barn.

Needless to say, singing Old MacDonald has never been cooler at story time.

Number 3 happened by accident and isn't as cool as the first two.  I am doing a program next week where the toddlers will go through various literacy centers based on nursery rhymes.  I had some great stick puppets, but really wanted a puppet theater for them to be able to tell the rhymes.  Voila!  Another presentation board became a puppet theater.

For this one, I did add booktape along the cut out rectangle so the kids don't catch themselves on the edge.  Part of me originally thought that the rectangle needed a bright colored border, maybe in foam, but then I changed my mind.  This way the puppets will really stand out.

The round-up this week is hosted by Read Sarah Read!
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