Montessori Classroom Showcase

This week’s Classroom Showcase post is not a tour of a classroom but the (brief) story of how I had to set up my space in under 48 hours when we moved to our current location.  These pictures are from 2010.

How to set up a classroom in 48 hours

Step 1:   Get Some Efficient Movers

How to Set Up a Classroom in 48 Hours 1

Friday Aug 20th 7pm (in the garage)

We had the classroom materials and furniture stored in my cousin’s garage over the summer.  I was afraid it would take all day to move that stuff but our movers were able to get it done in just a couple of hours.. phew!

How to Set Up a Classroom in 48 Hours 2

Friday 8pm

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Friday 9pm

Step 2: Bring in Reinforcements

This is not a job for one person.

(Where are the pictures of my fabulous helpers?!!)

I am so grateful to

~my sisters for coming in from out of town and working non-stop~

~my cousin and his kids for assembling all the furniture and doing the heavy lifting~

~my staff for putting out the materials on the shelves~

I feel SO lucky!

Step 3:  Assemble Furniture

Saturday 10am

How to Set Up a Classroom in 48 Hours 4

Step 4: Unpack

(Make Sure You Have a Good Organization System For Your Stuff.. and Sisters Who Know How You Think)

Saturday 12pm

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Step 5: Arrange the Furniture

MUST set up the office first!

Saturday 2pm

How to Set Up a Classroom in 48 Hours 9

How to Set Up a Classroom in 48 Hours 10

Step 6: Put out the Materials

How to Set Up a Classroom in 48 Hours 11

Saturday 4pm

How to Set Up a Classroom in 48 Hours 12

Saturday 6pm

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Step 7:  Decorate

Sunday 12pm

How to Set Up a Classroom in 48 Hours 14

Stickers help make the sterile bathroom a little more welcoming

How to Set Up a Classroom in 48 Hours 15

Plants, rugs, and a little art work

How to Set Up a Classroom in 48 Hours 16

How to Set Up a Classroom in 48 Hours 17

Step 8: Personalize

Gotta get those name tags done!

How to Set Up a Classroom in 48 Hours 18

We got our Certificate of Occupancy on Friday evening and were ready for our students by Monday morning!

Do you have a crazy classroom set up story or pictures of your room to share?  We’d love to feature you here at Trillium Montessori.  Get all the details here.




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Summer is a great time for Montessori parents and teachers alike to prepare for their ongoing work of educating the human potential, but it is also important to engage in activities that rejuvenate the adult’s wonder and inspiration. In this spirit of balance and Montessori’s emphasis on adult preparation I am excited to be part of the Wings, Worms, and Wonder Bundle Up for Summer Blog Hop!!  Read on for details about a freebie and a giveaway.

You may recognize the name Wings, Worms, and Wonder from the post Big Nature Connections, Small Spaces Kelly created last December. She is a Montessori teacher dedicated to creatively connecting children, and the adults who guide them, to nature, so what more relaxing way to build your creative connections this summer than with Kelly’s new Self-paced eCourse Bundle!

draw color bundle shot 500

The Connecting with Color and Draw Yourself Back to Nature eCourses, build on each other and are developed to guide the adult through their own art based nature connecting, for health, happiness, and relaxation, while also providing them with a wealth of resources to then modify what they are learning for the developmental needs of the child!

Best of all – no previous art experience necessary!! Kelly taught art in her Montessori School for 10 years, and with an emphasis on process over product, so she is well versed at guiding beginning and experienced, child and adult, artists through art techniques and creative nature experiences.

bird hand 500

The course’s modules provide a combination of video art tutorials, history, theory, guided nature connection technique audios, resources, and extensions that guide you through the process of using art and nature journaling to inspire sense of wonder and nature connections with the everyday nature just out the back door. There is also an active online community where you can share your creative nature explorations and ask questions!

Both courses are self-paced, focus on slowing down, and you have access to them for the life of the courses, so relax into creative nature connecting and progress through them completely at your lazy summer leisure!

Because many nature journalers may not have a background in formal art, Kelly bundled the Connecting with Color and Draw Yourself Back to Nature eCourses at a special price so you get the foundation of color theory and paint mixing in Connecting with Color on which to sprout your Draw Yourself Back to Nature journaling and connection experiences.

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Montessori believed “beauty could be found in nature and that nature itself should be and is the most infinite source of creative inspiration.” ~Turner, Art and Montessori

To get your colorful connections sprouting, and as a special Bundle Up for Summer Blog Hop treat, Kelly provided us a Rainbow Nature Sketch Hunt printable that you can use both yourself and with the children in your life!  Click the image to download the PDF.

rainbow hunt screenshot

 

All you need is a clipboard, colored pencils, to print it off, and head out the back door to seek the colors of nature’s rainbow in your nearby environment! Find that wonder, beauty, relaxation, and inspiration that Montessori knew was so good for us and Mother Nature provides endlessly if we slow down to notice!!

Be sure to Follow the hop all week and comment because Wings, Worms, and Wonder is giving away 2 FREE course registrations!!!

 1 Connecting with Color course registration will be randomly drawn from comments on Friday’s Wings, Worms, and Wonder Blog Hop post
&
1 Draw Yourself Back to Nature & Connecting with Color bundle will be drawn from the people who comment everyday on every post of the Bundle Up for Summer Blog Hop!!! So be sure to follow all week!!
Winners will be announced on the Wings, Worms, and Wonder blog Tuesday 6/30!!!!

Registration for the Connecting with Color and Draw Yourself Back to Nature eCourses and Bundle opens this Friday, June 26, so get registered and make this summer all about creative nature connections that you can use with the children at home and in the classroom!!

Learn more about the Connecting with Color eCourse here.

Learn more about Draw Yourself Back to Nature here.

Learn more about the course bundle here.

Then be sure to check out Rob from The Garden at Oswegatchie School’s Blog Hop post tomorrow and comment to be in the drawings to win!!

Join the Fun and stay updated on all the Wings, Worms, and Wonder creative nature connection resources and free monthly Wonder Wednesday Montessori inspired lessons! Subscribe today!

 


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Montessori Classroom Showcase

Welcome to Part 2 of the tour of Lauren’s class at Creo Montessori in Arizona.  Last week we saw pictures of her outdoor environment.  Today, we get to see the inside!  Thank you, Lauren, for sharing your lovely space with the rest of us.

Lauren Marques Montessori Classroom Showcase 1

Lauren Marques Montessori Classroom Showcase 2

Lauren Marques Montessori Classroom Showcase 3

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Practical Life

Lauren Marques Montessori Classroom Showcase 9

Lauren Marques Montessori Classroom Showcase 4

Lauren Marques Montessori Classroom Showcase 5

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Lauren Marques Montessori Classroom Showcase 22

Lauren Marques Montessori Classroom Showcase 7

Sensorial

Lauren Marques Montessori Classroom Showcase 11

Lauren Marques Montessori Classroom Showcase 10

Language

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Lauren Marques Montessori Classroom Showcase 20

Lauren Marques Montessori Classroom Showcase 19

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Lauren Marques Montessori Classroom Showcase 24

Math

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Lauren Marques Montessori Classroom Showcase 16

Lauren Marques Montessori Classroom Showcase 15

Cultural

Lauren Marques Montessori Classroom Showcase 13

Lauren Marques Montessori Classroom Showcase 12

Lauren Marques Cultural 3


About Lauren Marques

Lauren

My name is Lauren Marques. I am an AMI certified Children’s House guide at Creo Montessori School in Gilbert, Arizona. As an undergraduate, I studied Psychology at Arizona State University. I am also a student in the AMI Inclusive Education Course. Colleagues in Arizona may also recognize me as the co-founder/co-chair of AMIAA (AMI Arizona Alumni Association).

I strive to present each child the best opportunity for success, to develop a love of learning, respect, open-mindedness and passionate interest with the world. I encourage students to take their curiosity into their own hands, and provide them tools to find answers to their own questions. It is my destiny to aid the creation of an inclusive and developmentally supportive world based in social cohesion, creativity and harmony

About Creo Montessori

Creo is a new AMI accredited school. After opening our doors in September 2014, we are wrapping up our first school year. We currently serve children 15 months-12 years. As Creo continues to grow, we will be building another facility with plans to continue expanding our Montessori community to encompass environments toddler through High School. Visit www.creoschool.org – follow us on facebook and Instagram @Creoschool.

 

 


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Montessori Classroom Showcase

For this week’s Montessori Classroom Showcase Series, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Lauren Marques from the Creo School in Arizona.   I have been admiring her photographs in the Montessori teachers Facebook group for the past year and I am so happy that she has agreed to share them on our blog!

Lauren has been gracious enough to provide a ton of photos and we’re going to split them up into two posts.  You can see photos of the interior of her classroom here.   This first post will focus on her outdoor environment.  Her space is so lovely, I’m just going to let you take it in without saying a word!

About Lauren Marques

Lauren

My name is Lauren Marques. I am an AMI certified Children’s House guide at Creo Montessori School in Gilbert, Arizona. As an undergraduate, I studied Psychology at Arizona State University. I am also a student in the AMI Inclusive Education Course. Colleagues in Arizona may also recognize me as the co-founder/co-chair of AMIAA (AMI Arizona Alumni Association).

I strive to present each child the best opportunity for success, to develop a love of learning, respect, open-mindedness and passionate interest with the world. I encourage students to take their curiosity into their own hands, and provide them tools to find answers to their own questions. It is my destiny to aid the creation of an inclusive and developmentally supportive world based in social cohesion, creativity and harmony

About Creo Montessori

Creo is a new AMI accredited school. After opening our doors in September 2014, we are wrapping up our first school year. We currently serve children 15 months-12 years. As Creo continues to grow, we will be building another facility with plans to continue expanding our Montessori community to encompass environments toddler through High School. Visit www.creoschool.org – follow us on facebook and Instagram @Creoschool.

Lauren’s Montessori Outdoor Environment

Lauren Marques Outdoor Classroom 4

Lauren Marques Outdoor Classroom 1

Lauren Marques Outdoor Classroom 2

Lauren Marques Outdoor Classroom 3

Interior Photos

Click the image below to see more interior photos.

Lauren Marques Montessori Classroom Showcase 14


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by Randi Eccleston

Preparing the Environment

Through my Montessori journey I have learned that there is one bit of information that sticks out for me. Preparing the environment correctly is key. Without a proper environment there is potential for a non-success. With a properly prepared environment there is a greater chance of success for student and teacher. The student will then have freedom within limits. Each child will be allowed to choose work that satisfies him/her in that moment.

Classroom Setup Blank Slate

The classroom is a blank slate.

Before the school year starts I prefer to take everything off the walls, empty the shelves and put away the materials. I then think about what has worked and not worked in years past. I do my best to take notes during the year (and pictures) so that I can actually see what is working/not working.
I then decide where each area (practical life, sensorial, language, culture, art, library, snack and so on) will best fit. I need to find the starting point. For me, the starting point is the library. I like the library to be set up in a cozy corner.

 

Classroom Setup Library

 

I like the language area to be near the library so this is set up next. Practical life, snack set up, and art need to be near a water source so that is where they are placed. Math, science, and culture all fill out the rest of the room, making sure that there are no open areas for running.

Let’s not forget the area for “circle time or meeting time” depending on what you call it. This is typically a large rectangular or eliptical space blocked off by tape.

Classroom Setup Meeting

Once the shelves, tables, and chairs are in place it is time to place the “extras”. The extras are the plants, artwork and so on that make the space more cohesive.

Next up, it’s time to place the work itself. At the beginning of the year there is not a lot of work on the shelves actually. The teacher needs to see what her students are interested in and where they are in their lessons.

Setting up the environment should not be taken lightly and the teacher should be open to adjustments. If something is not working or there is not good flow in the classroom, the teacher should be able to observe this and make appropriate changes. It does not in any way mean that the teacher did something wrong, it just means that something needs to be changed so that the student is set up for success.

About Randi

Randi

Randi Eccleston is AMS certified for 3-6 year olds. She spent 15 years in the classroom. Randi is now a stay at home mom but Montessori will always be in her blood.

See examples of classroom setups in the Montessori Classroom Showcase

Montessori Classroom Showcase





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Montessori Classroom Showcase

This is the second post in our Montessori Classroom Showcase Series.  Today I’m delighted to introduce you to April Waxler from the Bloomington Montessori School in Indiana.

About April

April Wexler

I have been a Montessori teacher for twenty years and I have yet to have a boring day.
Bloomington Montessori School (in Bloomington, Indiana) has been a fixture of our community since the early eighties. We have about two hundred students from ages 3 -12. Our classroom is a Montessori full day 8-5:30 program. We have a morning and afternoon work period in the same classroom. The children are so busy and curious, we try our best to keep the materials lively and interesting. I am American Montessori Society early childhood certified and am from Bloomington. It is a great place to raise a family and we are blessed with a supportive school community. I enjoy finding new ideas and inspiration from Trillium Montessori’s blog.

-April Waxler

April Waxler Montessori Classroom

 

April Waxler Montessori Classroom Shelves Practical Life

I love how the Practical Life and Art shelves are set at an angle.  It’s a great way to break up the angular look of a room.  The round table in the center accentuates the curve.

April Waxler Montessori Classroom Shelves Art

 

 

April Waxler Montessori Classroom Shelves Sensorial

I like to display my geometric solids like this too!  They look so gorgeous all lined up.

 

 

April Waxler Montessori Classroom Shelves Math

I love April’s choice of art work in the Math area.. and the coordinating area rug, genius!

 

 

April Waxler Montessori Classroom Shelves Language

What an attractive Language area!  The color coded sets for letter work would draw anyone in!

 

 

April Waxler Montessori Classroom Shelves Cultural

Once again, I’m in love with the wall art April has chosen for the cultural area of her class!

 

 

April Waxler Montessori Classroom Shelves Peace Corner

Take a look at this sweet Peace Corner.  There’s a quiet space where the child can get away, along with some activities to focus on the importance of peaceful living.

 

 

April Waxler Montessori Classroom Decor

Here’s an example of how they decorate their entrance for special occasions.

 

 

Thank you, April, for sharing your lovely environment with us!

Readers, we would LOVE to see your classroom too! If you would like to submit your photos for our Classroom Showcase series, please download the form on the Contribute page.




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by Simone Davies

Setting up art trays for your child is a fabulous way to introduce different mediums to your child, encourage creativity, build independence, and allow repetition.

Let me show you the art trays we have out at the moment in our classroom for children from 16 months to 3 years.

montessori art activities

You will see that:

1. The activities are in baskets or trays – this keeps things easy to handle and makes them attractive

2. Everything the child will need for the activity is at the ready allowing the child to experience independence

3. Next to these trays we have supply drawers where the child can get extra paper, cutting strips, gluing shapes etc.

I hope it inspires you to set up your own art trays too!  You can find a variety of great trays at Montessori Services.

1. Drawing

 

drawing

Rather than having lots and lots of pencils to choose from, a few colours are selected and placed in an attractive box or cup. The box we use here has a sliding lid that the children love to open and close.

From time to time you can vary the pencils or crayons used; the colour, size and texture of the paper; and of course the colours offered.

My motto with art materials is to have fewer but better quality materials. These pencils are Stabilo 3-in-1 pencils. They are high quality, give a rich colour and do not break easily.

You can show them how to use the materials by drawing a simple line or a loose circle, then offering them a turn.  You want to show them just enough to encourage them to explore further, without being prescriptive which may limit their creativity.

2. Glue box

glue box

I love this glue box that we made during my Montessori training. You could find a similar container with different sections, or even use just a small bowl with various shapes for gluing.

The tray includes a small paint brush and a pot of glue (mini honey jars from hotels are great for this!). You could also use a glue stick, but I really like the way the children work their hand using a small glue brush and runny glue. They gain control of the brush by gluing onto the back of the shapes.

3. Cutting

cutting

We use real scissors even under 3 years old applying the Montessori principle to show them how to use real tools. I emphasise to the children that we sit at the table with scissors, we hold the handles and tell them the blades are sharp.

To give them the most success, we start with narrow cutting strips from sturdy card (around 1cm wide). If the paper is too thin, it may be difficult for them to cut. And the thin strips allow them to have success with a quick snip.

At first I might hold the strip for them while they open and close the scissors with two hands. Once their hand strength and coordination builds they can use one hand, and then start holding the strip themselves.

You can add lines to cut on to add difficulty and then use various sizes of paper with lines or shapes to cut along.

4. Play dough

playdoughINSERT PHOTO 5. PLAYDOUGH

Play dough is in constant use in our classroom. Here are my two favourite play dough recipes from my classes .

I add a few tools like a rolling pin and some cookie cutters. A simple knife with a blunt edge can be a good choice too. The chocolate mud recipe in the link above is super fun when you add some construction vehicles too.

I also like to vary the play dough – some times I use natural clay, kinetic sand, different coloured homemade play dough etc.

5. Water colour painting

water colour

With young children, it is fun to choose just one water colour tablet at a time. They enjoy wetting the brush in a small jar of water, adding some paint to the brush, and they are ready to paint.

I keep a cloth available for when the water spills and to wipe their hands and the table.

6. Punches

 

punches

Paper punches with different shapes are challenging for the children to master and make great shapes to glue onto paper or to collect into a little envelope.

You can also find paper punches with seasonal shapes, like Christmas trees or hearts.

 

7. Sewing

sewing

I love Montessori sewing activities. In our classroom we mostly have simple sewing cards where the children are learning to sew in a straight line.

I have a needle case to hold a large blunt-ended embroidery needle, some embroidery thread and a sewing card.

At first I hold the card for the child and point out the holes. I can show them how to sew a few holes, including how to turn the card over after each hole. Then they are usually wanting to take over and pull the thread through, or push the needle in the next hole. They can cut the thread at the end and I can show them how to knot the thread.

 

 

8. Prick work

prick work

This is a great activity for children to prepare for writing, improving their hand control and strength by working to stay on the line.

I make simple shapes for the children to prick along. At first they make just a few holes, and as they practice they can make holes around the whole shape and push the shape out.

 

Our art area is always busy and these trays get used constantly. I love to watch the children explore the materials and often they find even more ways to use the materials in creative ways.

Enjoy!

Simone Davies

About Simone

Simone Davies loves putting Montessori into practice. She is a qualified 0-3 Montessori teacher through the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and mother of two children who attended Montessori preschool and primary school. She is from Australia and lives in the Netherlands where she runs a Montessori playgroup for babies, toddlers and preschoolers in Amsterdam. She also helps parents online with her new e-courses at The Montessori Notebook.

 

simone davies

Designing Spaces for Montessori Children E-Course

Don’t miss Simone’s online course for parents to help you set up your home in a Montessori friendly way.  Sign up for the next course or get information about upcoming courses.

designing spaces




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This is the very first post is our Montessori Classroom Showcase series.  I’m very excited about sharing with you Montessori classrooms from around the world!  If you would like to have your classroom included in our series, please read details about how to contribute here. 

Montessori Classroom Showcase

I’ve been in the classroom for over 15 years now and I still don’t get tired of looking at how Montessori teachers have arranged their shelves.  I always get a new idea to try.  And sometimes I see something that makes me completely change up an entire area of my class.

I hope you find this series fun and inspiring, and I hope you will consider contributing too!


I want to say a special thank you to our very first contributor- Stephanie from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Stephanie is a 3-6 teacher at the Campus School of Carlow University.

Stephanie: Each month I publish photos of our shelves that have new work (Science, 1 language shelf, practical life, art, peace, movement, and perhaps geography) in a photo album for our class in Montessori Compass. These are the photos that are shared from March with a few that were taken at the beginning of the year (math, sensorial, language, etc).

 Miss Stephanie’s Class

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom view from door

View of the classroom from the door.  I love all the windows!

 

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom view from rear of room

View of the classroom from the rear.  Do you notice the pretty little potted plants on the work tables? I also like how the line taped to the floor is so subtle.

Practical Life

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom Practical Life Shelves 1

These Practical Life shelves hold the pouring, spooning/scooping, and squeezing fine motor work.

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom Practical Life Shelves 2

This shelf has a sensory bin with ocean animals in water beads, banana slicing, pattern dots, pinching beads fish, brads, shell scrubbing, and silver polishing.

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom practical Life shelves 3

This Practical Life shelf has preliminary sewing work like stringing, lacing, button sewing, embroidery hoop, and sewing forks.

Sensorial

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom Sensorial shelves 1

This sensorial shelf holds the materials for working with size, shape, color, grading, and classifying.  I like how the color tablets are placed in the clear containers.  Very attractive!

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom Sensorial

Here are all the geometry materials.

Math

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom math shelves 1

This is the first math shelf with the beginning numeracy work such as units, bead stair, spindle box etc.  At the top is the calendar.

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom math shelves 2

Here are the teens, tens, and hundred boards.  There’s also calendar work extensions.

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom math shelves 3

The Golden Bead materials are on this math shelf.

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom math shelves 4

Finally, the operations work is located together here.

Language

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom language shelves 1

The pre-literacy activities on this shelf change monthly.  I can see our middle vowel sorting work from the St. Patrick’s Day Phonological Awareness Pack on the middle shelf!

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom language shelves 2

Sandpaper letters!  You can also see the Handwriting Without Tears wooden Build Draw & Write kit on the middle shelf with other printing materials.  The bottom shelf has the Movable Alphabet.

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom language shelves 3

The top shelf is a continuation of the sandpaper letter sets.  I always find it fascinating to see the many ways people sort their letters.  Below that are movable alphabet objects and extensions.  The bottom shelf has sight words and parts of speech work.

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom language shelves 4

Here you see the beautiful Waseca Reading Program materials.  The drawers are just so stunning!

Cultural

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom cultural 1

What an attractive area!
They are learning about the ocean so you see all these lovely fish and ocean themed materials on their science shelves.

Objects and exploration
Characteristics and parts of a fish
Ocean animal nomenclature and little book
Fish/Crustacean/Echinoderm sorting (fun!)
Parts of a Starfish
Ocean Animal Who Am I?

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom cultural 2 EuropeThe Geography shelves have a focus on Europe.
Objects from Europe
Flags of Europe
Houses
Sorting Plants and Animals from Europe
Europe A-Z 3-Part Cards and little book
Europe Biomes
Europe Biome Readers from Waseca

Peace Shelf

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom peace shelf
They have a dedicated shelf with activities for fostering peace

Movement Shelf

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom Movement shelf

This shelf has some great activities for working on gross motor skills

Art Shelf

Campus School of Carlow Montessori classroom Art

Here are some of the activities they have on their art shelf.

 

Thank you to Stephanie for sharing these pictures from her class!

We would LOVE to see your classroom too! If you would like to submit your photos for our Classroom Showcase series, please download the form on the Contribute page.

 





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