Tuesday, December 16, 2014

#TeacherFriends Twitter Chat with DR. JEAN! 12/16 9PM EST

Twitter TeacherFriends Practice Chat with Dr. JEAN!!! to get connected and build a cyber PLN {Professional Learning Network}TONIGHT! TONIGHT! TONIGHT!!! It's Tuesday! It's Twitter Tuesday! 

It's a Tootie-Tah Tuesday! 

Tweet with Dr. Jean, in REAL time! 

Dr. Jean and Debbie Clement together on TwitterChat! 12/16

She's a rock star! 
She's a grandma! 
She has 45 years experience as an educator! 
She's EVERYONE'S favorite mentor! 

I tell you. The woman has a heart of gold. Platinum!

Tonight our weekly 'practice' chat is so excited to have THE Dr. Jean in our spotlight as tonight's #GuestEduCelebrity! She's going to talk about Brain Breaks and will be giving away resources to a couple lucky participants!

I am not even going to tell you the story of how-on-earth I scrambled up the dates on the calendar from the Tuesday that Dr. Jean agreed to guest star and the one that I announced to the public. It would be a long ramble and embarrassing. Let me just suffice to say that Dr. Jean is the MOST.A-MA-ZING.WOMAN.EVER! 

Kind. Gracious and forgiving all in one svelte package! The REAL deal! 

Dr. Jean Quote: Giving Children the Things we DID have Growing UP!Every now and again our path's cross and I learn more from this educational icon! That's a favorite thought from this down-to-Earth Diva. It also applies if you're a grandmother! 

Take a look at how she gets an ENTIRE ballroom of participants up and moving! 

"Learning takes place on your feet not your seat." ~~ Dr. Jean quote

I LUV'd hearing her talk about the classics: playdoh and fine motor! 

"Playing with playdoh is like sending fingers to the gym." ~~ Dr. Jean

I LUV LUV LUV seeing the children's sculptural playdoh creations during my school visits as author/illustrator! Talk about fingers going to the gym!
These are award winning finger-time fun creations! 

"Playing with playdoh is like sending fingers to the gym." ~~ Dr. Jean

Tuesday Twitter Chat 9PM EST Weekly GuestEduCelebrity, Prizes + PLN

TeacherFriends Twitter Calendar of Guests! Moderated by Debbie Clement

Saturday, December 13, 2014

12-13-14 HappyBirthday to ME (by the numbers) Quilted Taggie Blanket

12-13-14! Birthday CELEBRATION with Debbie Clement at RainbowsWithinReach


Who else would be so fortunate as to have a birthday on 12-13-14?
It happens once in a century and today's the day: 
I'm the rainbow girl with the rainbow bird!
This is 'our' painted bunting outside my studio window.
Yes. I talk to him as he eats! 
Spoiler Alert: You must watch the entire minute to see his magnificent head colors.



12*13* 14:Truth be told I have always been something of a numbers person. 
{{{{{Math geek.}}}}} 
AND I have ALWAYS LUV'd Polka-dots!
and I like RIBBON a LOT!

This week while I've been approaching my momentous birthday, I've been thinking daily about just how fortunate I am. How blessed. How very, very grateful I am for this princess-diva life I'm living. For my unique combination of skills, insight and the advantages of longevity. In my gratitude I've been focused on thinking of others. 

So I've taken my ribbon and my polka-dots and set to work.
This is the Christmas present I'm working on for my GRAND niece. 
It's almost done (except for the quilting) a FULL week early!  
Quilted "Taggie" Blanket for Debbie Clement's GRAND Niece Underway

Our grand niece is traveling to the United States for the first time ever(!) from Paraguay! Her daddy, my nephew Justin, teaches kindergarten there. She's just a couple of months old right now, but I can imagine her playing with these taggie-ribbons over the year to come. 

How cool is it that her first initial is "M" and that her last name begins with "W." All week I've entertained myself knowing that which ever way her taggie faces it will be apropos! Since Jusin + Jonna are busy packing I think it safe to share here. In any case, I'm REAL sure that baby girl "M" will be surprised! 

Quilted "Taggie" Blanket for Debbie Clement's GRAND Niece Underway at RainbowsWithinReach

Yes. I took the pink 'fluted' ribbon (that you probably over-looked in the ribbon picture up top) and sewed two different, separate black and white polka dot ribbons into the central pink panel. I can just picture baby piggies 'discovering' that little detail and playing with those little ruffled edges. I know. I am easily entertained. 

Quilted "Taggie" Blanket for Debbie Clement's GRAND Niece Underway at RainbowsWithinReach

The over-sized ric-rack that is available also adds a textural detail for finger-fun. 

Quilted "Taggie" Blanket for Debbie Clement's GRAND Niece Underway at RainbowsWithinReach

And now a quick moment in time for the numbers fan in me. To capture a moment in time on 12-13-14. Not every day that Google wishes me a HAPPY BIRTHDAY in CAKE! 

  • 169,524: The number of followers I have on Pinterest 
  • 54,728: Number of steps I've taken this week according to Pacer 
  • 5,084: The number of followers on my FB fanpage
  • 4,879: In circles of followers on Google+  
  • 4,567: (COOL number on my birthday, get it?) Number of Twitter Tweeps 
  • 2, 219: Super-fun followers on Instagram  
  • 1,158: Links on LinkedIN
  • 737: followers of my Teachers Pay Teachers store 
  • 476: Readers via Bloglovin
  • 113: Songs I've written and recorded
  • 70.21 My Klout score today 
  • 58: Trips around the sun I have taken!!! Eat a cupcake on me! 
  • 31: Number of states I've presented in professionally
  • 22.6: My BMI as of this morning {body mass index}  
  • 20: Years that I have been married!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 9: The number of CDs I'm produced
  • 7.75 The number of years I've survived Breast Cancer!!! 
  • 7: The number in our tribe of WonderPeeps {grandchildren} 
  • 6: The number in my family of origin 
  • 3: The number of picture books I've created as author/illustrator, publisher
  • 3: The number of NATIONAL Keynotes I've delivered
  • 2: The number of times I've been diagnosed with Breast Cancer
  • 2: The number of parents who are still cheering me on
  • 1: The number one husband of all times.... Allen
  • 1: The number of times I've been baptized into a life eternal
***What do your numbers have to say about you? I am totally over-da-moon delighted in my FREE "Pacer" app on my phone. I've had it now for nine days. It tracks the number of steps you've taken, your weight and gives you your BMI automatcially (body mass index.) 

Meet Debbie Clement, Author/Illustrator Music Lady

photo of: Debbie Clement of RainbowsWithinReach

MEET DEBBIE CLEMENT: Author and Illustrator, Music Lady

A special word of thanks to you, Kim for allowing me to introduce myself to your readers and encourage early literacy in the process. This is my nineteenth year of bringing more *ARTS* into the lives of children. I am a music lady, having written over 100 original songs for children. PLUS, I have morphed into an 'author/illustrator' by turning three of my songs into the traditional picture book format. I am living the life of my dreams and encourage others to follow in my jet stream and trail blaze their own dreams-into-reality. 

photo of: The Value of "Pretend" in a Young Child
"Diva Debbie" in mom's heels and gloves from an early era

YUP. That's "Little Debbie." It's good to be able to laugh at yourself! I am the hardest working diva, that you've never heard of before! Yes. Yes. I have won national awards. Yes. I travel the country (and the world) sharing my work with educators and parents. And. Yes. I realize. You've never heard of me...... [unless you're a blog stalker or active on Pinterest.] So I'm especially grateful to have the opportunity to introduce my self-published work.  

photo of: Three Picture Books by Debbie Clement of Rainbows Within Reach

My book's text are the lyrics of my songs. To make the bridge between 'singing' and 'reading,' my books include a CD insert of the song inside the cover. The young child first becomes mesmerized with the beat of the music and then quickly joins in with the repetitive lyrics. After a few trips through the song and book combo, the early reader begins to notice that those print hieroglyphics relate to the words being sung. Before you know it the child exclaims, "MOM, I'M READING!" 

photo of: Debbie Clement sings with her WonderBoy (grandson)
GeeGee and my own 'WonderBoy' in Concert Together! 
It is just that joy and burst in confidence that delights me. As a parent, grandparent and teacher-of-teachers, it is that "Aha Moment" when all the dots connect, that a quantum leap of 'academic' progress is made. Let's connect the dots! Let's sing and read. Let's dance and read. Let's sign and read. Let's paint and read. Let's laugh and read. Well. You get the idea! 

photo of: Crossing the Midline: gross motor activities prepare young bodies for future reading

Music is such a powerful tool. I've written about it as a 'motivator' in this article. I've written about how to add choreography to songs and why there is so much significance in 'crossing the midline.' My songs are filled with rhyme and repetition. There is all sorts of documentation about why and how rhyme relates to reading. I took a long hard look at those connections in this "TOP 10 LIST: Importance of Rhyme" that was developed for the Kid Blogger Network -- where Kim and I first met. That list is filled with inspiration for parents (and grandparents) to 'play' with rhyme as the day unfolds. 

Now. Let's take a look at how I translate my songs into picture books.

photo of: "You're Wonderful" Kindergarten Collaborative Quilt Mural on Author-Illustrator School Visit

The illustrations that fill my books are made from fabric as small quilts that I have designed and sewn together. You know that you're on your way, when a school building filled with 330 kindergarten students have responded to your graphic quilts by making a colossal collaboration to welcome you into their midst. This gigantic quilt spanned across their entire gymnasium! It is in response to my first picture book entitled, "You're Wonderful." The former art teacher in me rejoices to see such a spectacle! Here's a YouTube video shot in front of that very backdrop! We're singing my classic song, "Glad I'm at School Today!"

That's my favorite thing. To walk into a new school and see the work that students have created in response to my projects. My second book is entitled "Tall Giraffe" and features amazing photographs of this beloved animal in Africa. The photos are framed by African fabrics that were 'digitally quilted' on the computer. 

photo of: "Tall Giraffe" picture book illustrations, text by Debbie Clement

This whole book is the effort of a 'family project.' My niece took the giraffe photos for me on her mission trip to support children with AIDS in an African orphanage. Her mom/my sister worked at length behind the scenes to help me with the book's layout and design. Then my husband acted as 'publisher' and brought the work all together in finished form. YEAH, team! 

Now take a look at my newest baby. Another labor of love.

photo of: "Red, White and Blue" Picture book Kindergarten Response

My newest picture book "Red, White and Blue" is patriotic, in that I wrote the song in the immediate aftermath of September 11th. It celebrates the American flag and the diversity of our country: in both our geography and our people. It took me years to bring the book format to fruition. (I am a two time survivor of early stage Breast Cancer and that slowed me down considerably.) Imagine my emotions to see this project unfold in kindergarten in response to my work. 

The pieces of the enormous quilt pictured above were ALL made from marble painting on construction paper!!! Carie, the teacher that directed this project is an Army veteran that served active duty in Iraq and now teaches her kindergarteners the importance of respect for the flag. 

photo of: Kindergarten Bulletin Boards in Response to Picture Books by Debbie Clement

Yes. I could go on and on and on. I have five years worth of blogging articles that document the most recent of the past eighteen years since I launched my company. In summary? 

I'm all about bringing the arts into the lives of children. I focus on how we can use the Arts as a springboard to literacy. I'm passionate about process over product. {I've traveled to Europe to sing with the children of our troops stationed abroad. Plus I've had a tour and performances in Reggio Emilia, Italy while there.} I urge teachers and parents to support the creative process. I've dedicated my career to finding ways to support ALL learning styles in every child. I want every individual to know that they are 'wonderful.'

photo of: Debbie Clement Meets Member of her Fanclub  

Collaboration is where it's at! There's power in collaboration. I am the 'editor-in-chief' for the collaborative blog, "PreK+K Sharing." We have 20 authors who contribute regularly from their area of expertise. The links in today's article direct you to this collaborative effort. I am now uploading 'digital versions' of my work for your immediate purchase and download. 

photo of: SKYPE school visit with author/illustrator Debbie Clement

My newest technological adventure is to make Author-Illustrator SKYPE visits! I have already visited 11 different schools by virtue of this amazing and immediate transport. I've gone from the Virgin Islands to California and Maine to Texas visiting via computer projected to large screen. The visits are completely 'do-able' and available for your consideration. I can't wait to see where I get to 'visit' in the coming year! 

photo of: Bulletin Board Welcome for Debbie Clement

By all means follow me on Pinterest! I now have 160,000+ followers of my boards. My pinboard collections are organized around my books, DVD, and songs. I host several collaborative pinboards that are all the rage. As you might expect I have one for "Children's Art" and another for "Writing and Fine Motor" that are especially popular! 

Your creative process as an adult is significant to me as well. I offer my blog as a storehouse of inspiration and motivation for you and your own creativity. I'll conclude with offering you this article for making your own dreams come true. It includes my reflections following my first national keynote address. Dreams really do come to fruition, but they require focus and determination, regular work and patience. Having the support of others as you make progress is pivotal for the journey. I'm appreciative to my fellow bloggers for their continual encouragement and support. 

Debbie works hard to stay connected. Follow her blog RainbowsWithinReach, her collaborative blog PreK+K Sharing, her FB page, her Twitter account, her Instagram efforts, her Google+ and look here for her LinkedIN.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Conversation Linky Fun!

Christmas Conversation Linky Fun

One of the things I LUV about Instagram is getting connected. 

How fun is this "Linky" hosted over at Abby's Inspired Apple? 

Pop over to her amazing blog to link your traditions + favorites. 

Christmas Conversation Linky Fun

I took the image below over to Picmonkey and added my answers!

Christmas Conversation Linky Fun

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

California Dreaming + #TeacherFriends Twitter Chat

Have you heard about the California Kindergarten Association's Annual PK1 Conference?  Well, it's an outstanding 3-day event designed by teachers for teachers specializing in early childhood education.  If you teach TK, Pre-K, K, 1st Grade, or Homeschool and live in the California area, this is definitely an event you don't want to miss. This year's conference is scheduled to take place in Santa Clara, California (just outside of San Francisco).  The festivities kick off on Friday, January 16th with a Pre-Conference Institute and lasts through Sunday, January 18th.  Oodles of professional development workshops ranging from behavior management and the importance of play to integrating the Common Core Standards will be offered throughout the weekend.      

But, wait!!  There's more.  Some of your FAVORITE bloggers are going to be taking part in this amazing conference.  Just look at this fun line-up of blogger presenters that will be at this year's PK1 Conference  . . .





Don't go yet . . . we have even more for you.  Guess what else is happening?? We are thrilled to announce that the PK1 Conference will be hosting it's very first Blogger Fiesta.  At this fun evening event, you can meet and chat with your favorite bloggers over a plate of yummy Mexican apps.  Each attendee will receive dinner, a Blogger CD (filled with $60 of free products), and a raffle ticket to enter to win oodles of other fabulous prizes!  To purchase your $35 Blogger Fiesta ticket, click HERE.

Are you excited yet?  Let's up the ante a bit.  How about a chance to win a FREE conference registration?  Well, it's your lucky day!  The generous folks at CKA have given us one FREE conference registration to give away to our followers. Enter to win via the painless Rafflecopter below.  But, hurry!!!  This giveaway closes Friday evening and our BIG winner will be announced on Saturday, December 13th.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To learn more about PK1 and/or to check out the conference sessions in detail, CLICK HERE!  Thanks for taking the time to visit us today.  We hope to see you at this year's PK1 Conference :)


SINCE THIS IS TUESDAY! That means time to chat tonight with your #TeacherFriends on Twitter. Tonight we have an amazingly creative #GuestEduCelebrity in the spotlight. Krissy "Venspired" Venosdale will take center stage! 

The chat was absolutely amazing -- as I knew it would be! 

Krissy is such an amazing motivator! 
Here are just a few of her inspiring posters!
You can see her collection for sale over here.  

LEARN Poster from "Venspired" Twitter GuestEduCelebrity at TeacherFriends

BELIEVE Poster from "Venspired" Twitter GuestEduCelebrity at TeacherFriends

Instead Of Poster from "Venspired" Twitter GuestEduCelebrity at TeacherFriends

Learning Superpower Poster from "Venspired" GuestEduCelebrity at TeacherFriends Twitter Chat


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Continuum from 'Craftivity' to Authentic Art: Child Created Giraffe Paintings

Continuum from 'Craftivity' to Authentic Art: Child Created Giraffe Paintings at RainbowsWithinReach

Welcome. Or Welcome Back. This is the continuation of my ongoing encouragement for teachers to ensure that "CREATIVITY" is a basic right of children. Last week I compared the "Authentic Art" of children in response to Eric Carle's Very Hungry Caterpillar to more teacher-driven 'craft-project' type responses. Today I have all new examples of children's authentic art plus I am including the feedback to last week's article. We all learn from each other. 

Debbie Clement, author of "Tall Giraffe" with decorated classroom door

My second picture book is entitled "Tall Giraffe" and so as I make my school visits across the country, I see a LOT of giraffes and giraffe project variations created in anticipation of my arrival. I've gathered up several of the variations to help articulate the continuum that I see from 'craftivity' at one end of the scale all the way to "Authentic Art" at the other. 

In the week since my article last Sunday, I have heard many voices across cyber-town in response to my thoughts and examples. To bring us all back to square one, I started with the 'chilling' reminder of the March-of-the-Penguins bulletin board -- where ALL SIXTEEN PROJECTS ARE EXACTLY THE SAME. This is an extreme. This example is at the EXTREME of look-alike, top-down, teacher directed. Interchangeable. 

Listen in to the voices from FB, Instagram and my email inbox and their thoughts, frustrations + insight. 

"Thank you, thank you, thank you! Loved this article! 'The march of the Stepford Penguins'.... OMG I thought I'd wet my pants!" ~~ Nancy Gaumer

"It makes me sad when I see 20 art projects that look exactly the same. I do craft stuff  but I encourage individuality, creativity and let them go wild. It's the process that counts NOT the product." ~~ preschoolfun

"Wonderful post! Being a second year teacher.... I am still trying to find that balance. Last year I did way too much product art. I am learning the process is way more important! It also requires less prep for me and the kids really do get more excited about their work.... so true! :) Thanks for posting." ~~ teach2reach

"Not all parents love the craftivity. As a teacher and a parent of a pre-schooler, I am so frustrated with the lack of creativity allowed in many classrooms. I will share this with the director of my son's school and hope to see some change. ~~ Andrea Peck

Continuum from 'Craftivity' to Authentic Art: Child Created Giraffe Paintings at RainbowsWithinReach

"I am currently doing an action research. Main question: why are teachers not allowing children to express their originality in art.... and I was thrilled to read this.... I need teachers to participate in my survey. Please PM me and I will send you the questions if you wish to take part. Thank you." ~~ Na Kumar 

"Ahhhhhh. Love. Love. Drives me bonkers to see teacher art. Let the kids express themselves. Who cares that it does not look right or like everyone else's. Parents do Not want to always see my talent when it comes to art. At a center I worked at last year we had a Wee Arts program come in once a week..... more than once I witnessed the "teacher" erasing what a child had put on the paper and then 'helping' them make it right. I was disgusted and sad." (insert sad faced emoticon.)" ~~Bev Mackey 

"Thanks for this amazing article. It's nice to know I am not alone. It's the process, not the result, that counts. We are here to foster children's creativity and nurture their individuality. Not to create robots." ~~ Dana Lu

Continuum from 'Craftivity' to Authentic Art: Child Created Giraffe Paintings at RainbowsWithinReach

"Thank you!!!! I would so much rather nurture creativity than have something "cute." xoxo ~~ adventuresinkindergarten

"THANK YOU! At this age it is the process that matters not the product! I want them to explore, learn how to use different materials and realize art is subjective."  ~~ TeresaTeaches

Continuum from 'Craftivity' to Authentic Art: Child Created Giraffe Paintings at RainbowsWithinReach

"This is so true! I've taught Kindergarten for almost thirty years; I do agree with some balance, but authentic really shows a child their own work is valued! Process over project is essential for our youngest kiddos! ~~ Deb Haffner

I think creativity is a process that can be both open-ended and simply designed with a product or craft in mind -- as long as the child can use the materials in his/her own ways... My favorite preschool teacher showed me a perfect example of this when she taught my 3 year old daughter's class how to make paper chains for their Christmas trees (not exactly diversity, but good for eye-hand coordination.) She began apologizing that my child did not make the intended craft, then showed me how SHE creatively used the materials. Her result was a beautiful, multi-level star made by piling the strips on top of each other in a wonderful stack. We both laughed at her determination to do her own thing. I was so grateful that the teacher did nothing but praise her efforts -- even if they weren't what she was expecting.... THAT is the balance. ~~ Lynn Manfredi

Continuum from 'Craftivity' to Authentic Art: Child Created Giraffe Paintings at RainbowsWithinReach

"We are all about children's authentic art at Head Start. Love it! The children value what they've done, and it doesn't have to look like someone else's, and shouldn't! Each is unique because each child is unique!" ~~ Jan Windham

"Thank you for this article. I will keep it in mind as I present activities to my toddler as he grows. Do you have any suggestions for very young children (16 months)? I am encouraging scribbling with crayons and have had him try finger painting. I don't mind a mess." 

"Thank you! thank you! and thank you!!!! From the beginning of my career with pre-k I have always been an advocate of original, creative, authentic art. I will always believe in it and refuse anything else. No child is the same, therefore their artwork should not look the same." ~~ Emily Moss  

Continuum from 'Craftivity' to Authentic Art: Child Created Giraffe Paintings at RainbowsWithinReach

"Great perspective! I saw 'craftivity' in action at one preschool I checked out-- the teacher hovered over the kids, directing every glue dot and squiggle. It was sad, and frustrating for the kids. Long live authentic little artists!!!!!" ~~ Mickie Farris 

"I've just sent my 3 year old to playgroup with her decorated bauble printout. I didn't realize that it was obviously a parent's activity, judging by the lack colour coordination, precisely glittered patterns and intricate sequin work. I would guess she is the only one who did it on her own."  

Continuum from 'Craftivity' to Authentic Art: Child Created Giraffe Paintings at RainbowsWithinReach

I would like to give you some examples of giraffe 'projects' that have more direction/plans/specifics from the teacher. While this finished work that follows has a greater similarity to one another than our AUTHENTIC giraffe paintings above, they are no where in the same category as our interchangeable {Stepford} penguins at the out set of this conversation. I know that you will see the difference immediately. 

photo of: giraffe crafts, paper plate craft for zoo animals, preschool jungle crafts, easy crafts for zoo theme

Now on to the voices "in defense of" Craftivity and the learning that takes place with those style of projects. 

Painted Giraffe Project: Heads made from traced foot shape

"Authentic artwork vs. 'crativities' are two completely different things. We teach and there is so much that can also be taught (math, dexterity, sorting, shapes, following directions, language, fine and gross motor skills) through art experiences." ~~Tanya Sariken

"I am partial to the creative, kid directed art myself. However as a PK/K teacher, craftivites can be great tools for practicing following directions, doing things in order, etc, both have a place in my classroom." ~~ jessicanteach

Giraffes painted by young children, added detail for manes via RainbowsWithinReach

"There's a place for both. Children like to make the craftivities because they feel successful at making something, but they need to be able to use their imaginations too. As a parent I don't really care to save the photocopied type things but the things my children create are treasures, recognizable or not." ~~ Debra Whittaker

"Tall Giraffe" Torn Paper Construction in Kindergarten via RainbowsWithinReach

"I like both. I think with Authentic art, students can actually be more creative and we can build the confidence in themselves, and I often see second guessing and frustration at times when they try to do a Craftivity. But they love to try both!" ~~ Ginger Breaux 

Kindergarten Bulletin Board for Giraffes in the Jungle

"I agree that both are good and have a place in the classroom. I do more crafts at the beginning of the year to work on cutting skills and following directions, then more open ended art later. I think knowing that crafts are different than "art" and doing both with purpose are important." ~~ teacherlaura 

Tall Giraffe Bulletin Board for zoo unit or jungle theme (Kindergarten Artwork)
Traced shoe for head, traced arm for neck: 'formulaic,'  but EACH child's is UNIQUE + personal

"I have a child that is a perfectionist.... so crativities are great for her because she feels like its good enough. I have another child who could care less what it looks like but is excited to be making something. I can see the benefits of both." ~~andtheyallfalldown11

"Love them both." ~~pragmaticmom

G is for Giraffe, Art Projects from Preschool to 1st grade focused on Giraffe Theme


As usual. The time has escaped faster than the creation + completion of this article. It is not exactly finished. I am missing several response/feedback/insight/opinions and I will continue to add to this follow up over the next day or two. 

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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