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7th/8th Grade Language Arts (Reading Comprehension and Writing- Full Curriculum)

English

Genres #1: A Dash of Magic - Fantasy ELA Semester Course (6th, 7th & 8th Grade)

Join the introductory course to my series of intensive middle school classes with various styles of essay writing, creative writing, and literary analysis with Terry Pratchet's We Free Men, independent novels, poetry & reader's theatre!
Alaina Bell Gao
356 total reviews for this teacher
New class
  There are no upcoming classes.
Class
50 minutes
per class
3x per week
over 15 weeks
11-15
year olds
3-6
learners per class
per learner - per class

How does a "Multi-Day" course work?

Meets multiple times at scheduled times
Live video chats, recorded and monitored for safety and quality
Discussions via classroom forum and private messages with the teacher
Great for engaging projects and interacting with diverse classmates from other states and countries

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Description

Class Experience

Literature & Informational Texts: Key Ideas & Details

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.1
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.1
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.1
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.1
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.1
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.8.1
Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.2
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.2
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.2
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.2
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.2 
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.8.2
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details including its relationship to the characters, setting, plot, and supporting details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.3 *Informational Texts
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.3
Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes). Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.8.3 *Informational Texts
Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events (e.g., through comparisons, analogies, or categories).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.3
Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.3
Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.3
Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.

Literature & Informational Texts: Craft & Structure

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.4
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.4
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.4
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.4
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.4
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.8.4
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone including analogies or allusions to other texts; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.5
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.5
Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, plot, or ideas.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.5 *Informational Texts
Analyze the structure an author uses to organize a text, including how the major sections contribute to the whole and to the development of the ideas.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.8.5 *Informational Texts
Analyze in detail the structure of a specific paragraph in a text, including the role of particular sentences in developing and refining a key concept.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.5
Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.5 *This course will form the introduction to poetry and a few basic forms/structures.
Analyze how a drama's or poem's form or structure (e.g., soliloquy, sonnet) contributes to its meaning

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.6 *Informational Texts
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.6
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.8.6
Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and explain how it is conveyed in the text. Analyze how the author distinguishes his or her position from that of others. Analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.6
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.6
Analyze how an author develops and contrasts the points of view of different characters or narrators in a text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.6
Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.

Literature: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.7
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.7
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.7
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.7
Compare and contrast the experience of reading a story, drama, or poem to listening to or viewing an audio, video, or live version of the text, including contrasting what they "see" and "hear" when reading the text to what they perceive when they listen or watch. Analyze the extent to which a filmed or live production of a story or drama stays faithful to or departs from the text or script, evaluating the choices made by the director or actors, including the techniques unique to each medium (e.g., lighting, sound, color, or camera focus and angles in a film). Analyze each medium's portrayal of the subject (e.g., how the delivery of a speech affects the impact of the words).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.8.7
Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.7
Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.8 * Informational Texts
Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.8 *Informational Texts
Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient to support the claims.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.8.8 *Informational Texts
Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is sound and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; recognize when irrelevant evidence is introduced.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.7.9 *Informational Texts
Analyze how two or more authors writing about the same topic shape their presentations of key information by emphasizing different evidence or advancing different interpretations of facts.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.9 *This is part one of a series of courses to compare several main genres.
Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres (e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories) in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.9 *Informational Texts
Compare and contrast one author's presentation of events with that of another (e.g., a memoir written by and a biography on the same person).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.9
Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.9
Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, or religious works such as the Bible, including describing how the material is rendered new.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.8.9 *Informational Texts
Analyze a case in which two or more texts provide conflicting information on the same topic and identify where the texts disagree on matters of fact or interpretation.

Essay Writing
http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/W/6/
http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/L/6/
http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/W/7/
http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/L/7/
http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/W/8/
http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/L/8/

Creative Writing
http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/W/6/
http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/L/6/
http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/W/7/
http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/L/7/
http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/W/8/
http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/L/8/

Speaking & Listening
http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/SL/6/
http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/SL/7/
http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/SL/8/
VISIT IT! (DAY 1)
NOTE: The warm-up and feedback activities should be completed PRIOR TO each class, except for the first week. Meanwhile, essay writing should be completed by the FINAL class of the week. Extensions and accommodations are available upon request.

These classes set the stage for the literature to be covered and for our weekly writing focus (as we develop our fantasy short stories). This will be done by reading nonfiction articles, researching, introducing key concepts, discussing documentaries, or planning, crafting, revising, and editing essays.

Definition Paragraph/Essay - Week 1
Expository Paragraph/Essay - Week 2
Comparative Paragraph/Essay - Weeks 3, 9, and 10 
Analytical Paragraph/Essay - Weeks 4, 8, 11, 12, and 13
Expository Paragraph/Essay - Week 5 
Personal Narrative Paragraph/Essay - Week 6
Persuasive Paragraph/Essay - Week 7
Research Paragraph/Essay - Week 14

EXPLORE IT! (DAY 2)
NOTE: Homework should be completed PRIOR TO each class. This will include completing a summarizing activity and posting it in our classroom.

These classes will begin with storytelling and exploring the literature! The students will take turns retelling the story with a summarizing activity in the classroom (their homework). At the beginning of class, we will briefly respond to the contributions. These classes will be the time to focus on comprehension via exploration of the vocabulary, syntax, structure, figurative language, point of view, and themes in the selected reading for the week (fiction). There will be opportunities to listen to and read the literature aloud. 

Summarizing Options: Pick an Activity!
Choose one summarizing activity per week. Just say the magic words, “I’m going to . . .” 

Find It - Complete the scavenger hunt by scanning for the vocabulary in the novel and writing summary sentences.

Journal It – Imagine that you are the character writing in your diary about what you have experienced and how you feel about it.

Appreciate It - Find examples of figurative language, like imagery, simile, metaphor, onomatopoeia, personification, and hyperbole, and arrange the quotations into a poem.

Draw It - Create a comic illustrating the main events.

Map It – Map out the plot on the story mountain, while thinking about whether it is the beginning of the story, the rising action with increasing conflict, the climax where the character must address the conflict, the falling action with the results of the character's choice, or the ending.

Graph It – Draw a graph or a series of thermometers reflecting the rising/falling conflicts.

Order It – Put the story in chronological order on a time line (or, another way like a chart) to show when things happened.

Voice It - Have another character tell the story with their thoughts and opinions.

Witness It – Imagine that you are an inanimate object that came alive and witnessed the story. Describe what you saw or heard!

Quote It - Choose the most important three sentences of the passage. Then, record yourself reading them aloud together with voice and sound effects. You may choose to add props. Add the chapter and page numbers with your work.

Re-set It: You are the set and stage manager, so change the setting of the story and reimagine it in another country or time period. Rewrite the story to reflect these changes! Then, present your story using sound effects, suitable backgrounds, etc. or create a model of the new setting.

Live It: Imagine that you are transported into the story. Describe your experience in writing. Then, present your story using sound effects, suitable backgrounds, etc.

Script It: Create a play script of a scene from the story and perform it. Consider adding music, sound effects, and props.

Think It: Develop a scene where the character is alone but is talking out loud (so we can know their thoughts). Write out their monologue and then record it.

Transport It: Transport a character into our world and describe their experiences living in your community.

Transform It: Convert a poem to prose or the other way around without losing the core elements of the setting, characters, and plot.

Freeze It: Write and role play a scene where the character must make a choice. Have everything freeze while they talk through their options and thoughts. Have everything unfreeze as they make their decision.

Advertise It: Create a poster advertising a new version of the story and pitch your idea.

Orchestrate It: Choose music for a production of the story with a focus on the audience's mood, the author's tone, and the story's themes. Then, describe your choices in writing.


IMAGINE IT! (DAY 3)

This is a day for creative writing! This is when you will work on crafting your own fantasy short story!
 5 files available upon enrollment
Each learner will need to have their own copy of (or access to): 1. "The Little Mermaid" by Jerry Pinkney 2. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett 2. A reading journal/notebook/binder for taking notes 3. A pencil, highlighters, or sticky notes for annotation 4. Onward, Maleficent, and Nanny McPhee (movies) 5. One independent novel from the following list (learner's choice) The poems will be provided in the classroom, as will the play scripts, essay sources, and multimedia links (Youtube, which will only be playable in our Outschool classroom). Individual Novel Study - Learner's Choice (Choose One of the Following): Before the Sword by Grace Lin (Ancient Chinese Adventure-Fantasy; Chinese Mythology) Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston (African-American Mysterious Adventure-Fantasy; Popular Mythology; Award) The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice) by John Flanagan (Earthsea Archipelago Medieval Adventure-Fantasy; Native American Legends & Norse Mythology; Multiple Awards) A Wizard Of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (Adventure-Fantasy; Celtic-Norse Mythology; Multiple Awards) Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper (British Arthurian-Fantasy; King Arthur Tales and Celtic, Norse, and English Mythology; Award) The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (British Arthurian-Fantasy; King Arthur Tales and Celtic, Norse, and English Mythology; Multiple Awards) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (Dwarfish Middle-earth Adventure-Fantasy; Germanic and Scandinavian Mythology; Multiple Awards) Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (Romantic-Fantasy; Fairy Tale Parody; Award) The Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones (Adventure-Fantasy; Inspired by Mesopotamia, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and England; Award) The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (World War 2 Adventure-Fantasy; Greek Mythology; Biblical Allusions; Award) Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo (Animal Adventure-Fantasy; Awards) Redwall (Redwall Series) by Brian Jaques (Descriptive Animal Adventure-Fantasy; Multiple Awards) Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll (Victorian Adventure-Fantasy; Literary Nonsense; Award) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (Adventure-Fantasy; Greek Mythology; Award) The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series) by Michael Scott (Action-Packed Adventure-Fantasy; Mixed Mythology; Alternate History) Watership Down by Richard Adams (British Adventure-Fantasy; Allegory; Hero Archetype; Multiple Awards) *Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Nigerian Mythology-Fantasy; Multiple Awards; Mature Readers Only!) Optional: Audiobook - The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett Optional Continued Reading (More Books about Tiffany Aching): A Hat Full of Sky Wintersmith I Shall Wear Midnight The Shepherd's Crown
In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
Rubrics will be provided for each essay and the creative writing assignment and I will be happy to provide anecdotal updates on your learner's progress upon request.

This course is rich in content and is a good fit for advanced and gifted learners, but I maintain an encouraging, creative, low-stress environment for all learners to thrive, with much support, so that everyone can make growth and stimulate each other. There is a full course load, but I am accommodating of various needs, levels, and schedules. 

I feel that all learners will do what they can when treated with respect and encouraged to grow. Therefore, there will be no grading in this course (A, B, C, etc., or percentages). Instead, I record feedback (video) with specific praise and suggestions for the future, believing that essay writing and English skills develop over time (for a lifetime) and at varying rates for all individuals. Individual growth and sustained/renewed interest are most important. 

Thus, this course will be a wonderful fit for any learner who has time for a full English course load, can read, write, and participate independently, and is ready for a thrilling deep dive into the genre!
2 hours 30 minutes per week in class, and an estimated 4+ hours per week outside of class.
The Wee Free Men (novel) is a highly amusing fantasy novel with some great characterization and themes, but it includes a few elements that may be uncomfortable for some learners.

Firstly, the "wee men" have a distinctive dialect and use some vocabulary and syntax that may be overwhelming at first. Of course, I will guide the learners through this. There is also reference to some characters cussing (mostly without the curse words), although there are the words dang, darned, drat, heck, hell, and fart in the story.

Additionally, there is some violence in the novel against some attacking magical creatures. This allows Tiffany to show her wits and creativity in using, for example, a frying pan to defend herself. It also gives insight into her thoughts about the realities of the world and how the little men live. However, some sensitive readers may struggle with the fighting scenes.

As for family relationships, she has some annoyance and resentment against her younger brother at times, but, ultimately, she sets out on an adventure to rescue him. Granny Aching has also passed away two years prior to when the story begins, which may be a trigger for some learners. Her granddaughter thinks of her often and learns more of her grandmother throughout her journey. 

Another point of possible concern is that Granny often smoked a pipe and now the Nac Mac Feegle (Pictsies/Wee Free Men/Little Men) use the tobacco that is left for her in memorial. They also drink and steal (and delight in it), although they are fascinating characters and are generally likable and comical.

Next, there is a passing comment about how her uncle thought he could see the shape of a woman without clothes on the tobacco box, although Tiffany (the main protagonist) could not see it at all, which is one small example of how perspective (and different points of view) are important in this novel. Most passing references to sexuality are in regards to sheep farming. Tiffany does associate this mating with cuddling with her future mate, but this is to show how Tiffany's mind ponders everything deeply and in a unique way. It is likely to go over many of the learners' heads, but for her, it is chalked up to her experiences and observations on the farm. The sexual references are brief, imprecise, and in passing, so it is not really a "thing" in this novel.

Tiffany is a also witch, as was her grandmother. She discovers that fantasy is often true, and that there is an endless range of realities. Additionally, there is some reference to religious theories like Earth being Heaven for those from other places/planets/dimensions. While this class will not delve into individual religious beliefs, there will be limited discussion of the characters' beliefs and how that influences their choices.

Besides the literature, some Youtube videos will be posted in the classroom for research purposes, although they will only be accessible in our Outschool classroom. I will also use Google in class and bring up nonfiction texts in class for research purposes. The learners will also need to do some research independently, but they can use books, websites, or other sources.

I will also provide Google Docs/Slides for the learners for their writing. No accounts or sign-ups are required. 
Besides the literature, some Youtube videos will be posted in the classroom for research purposes, although they will only be accessible in our Outschool classroom. I will also use Google in class and bring up nonfiction texts in class for research purposes. The learners will also need to do some research independently, but they can use books, websites, or other sources.

I will also provide Google Docs/Slides for the learners for their writing. No accounts or sign-ups are required. 

Short Story - "The Little Mermaid" by Jerry Pinkney 
Novel - The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
Films - Onward, Maleficent, and Nanny McPhee

Individual Novel Study - Learner's Choice (Choose One of the Following):
Before the Sword by Grace Lin (Ancient Chinese Adventure-Fantasy; Chinese Mythology)
Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston (African-American Mysterious Adventure-Fantasy; Popular Mythology; Award)
The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger's Apprentice) by John Flanagan (Earthsea Archipelago Medieval Adventure-Fantasy; Native American Legends & Norse Mythology; Multiple Awards)
A Wizard Of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (Adventure-Fantasy; Celtic-Norse Mythology; Multiple Awards)
Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper (British Arthurian-Fantasy; King Arthur Tales and Celtic, Norse, and English Mythology; Award)
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (British Arthurian-Fantasy; King Arthur Tales and Celtic, Norse, and English Mythology; Multiple Awards)
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (Dwarfish Middle-earth Adventure-Fantasy; Germanic and Scandinavian Mythology; Multiple Awards)
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (Romantic-Fantasy; Fairy Tale Parody; Award)
The Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones and Ursula Jones (Adventure-Fantasy; Inspired by Mesopotamia, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and England; Award)
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (World War 2 Adventure-Fantasy; Greek Mythology; Biblical Allusions; Award)
Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo (Animal Adventure-Fantasy; Awards)
Redwall (Redwall Series) by Brian Jaques (Descriptive Animal Adventure-Fantasy; Multiple Awards)
Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll (Victorian Adventure-Fantasy; Literary Nonsense; Award)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling (Adventure-Fantasy; Greek Mythology; Award) 
The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series) by Michael Scott (Action-Packed Adventure-Fantasy; Mixed Mythology; Alternate History)
Watership Down by Richard Adams (British Adventure-Fantasy; Allegory; Hero Archetype; Multiple Awards)
*Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Nigerian Mythology-Fantasy; Multiple Awards; Mature Readers Only!)

Poetry (Supplied):
"Fantasy" by Gwendolyn Bennett (lyric poem)
"The Nixie's Pool" by Leah Bodine Drake (sestain stanzas with an AABBBA rhyme scheme)
"The Last Faun" by Leah Bodine Drake (narrative ballad quatrain)
"The Centaurs" by Leah Bodine Drake (free verse poem with a limited rhyme scheme)
"The Old World of Green" by Leah Bodine Drake (alternate rhyme ABAB quatrain poem)
“Over The Misty Mountains Cold” by J.R.R. Tolkien (ten quatrain stanzas with an AABB rhyme scheme)
“One Ring” by J.R.R. Tolkien (octave with an ABABACCA rhyme scheme)
"Curious Story" by Leah Bodine Drake (cinquain poem with an ABCCB rhyme scheme)
"The Stranger (To Lord Dunsany)" by Leah Bodine Drake (ballad quatrain)
"Witches on the Heath" by Leah Bodine Drake (octave poem with an ABBCCCDDA rhyme scheme)
"Unhappy Ending" by Leah Bodine Drake (tercet poem with an ABB rhyme scheme)
Song of the Witches: “Double, double toil and trouble” by William Shakespeare (rhyming couplets and a refrain)
"Wulf and Eadwacer" by (elegy and ballad poem with refrain; modern translation)
"The Beanstalk" by Tara Meddaugh (dramatic monologue)
"Scientist's Address" by Drama Notebook (comedic monologue; give it a fantasy twist)
"Blue River" by Drama Notebook (comedic scene; give it a fantasy twist)
"The Viper" by Drama Notebook (comedic scene; give it a fantasy twist)
"Sonnet 1" by Gwendolyn Bennett (Italian sonnet)

Play Scripts (Supplied):
"Jack and the Bean Stalk: A Radio Play: by Ruth Landowne-Giordano
"Jack and the Bean Stalk" by Andy Pavey
"Mad Tea Party" by Ruth Landowne-Giordano

Teacher

Alaina Bell Gao
🇨🇦
Lives in Canada
Let's explore the world through literature, art, and social studies!
356 total reviews
167 completed classes

About Me

Hi! My name is Alaina Bell Gao, and I am an experienced Canadian English teacher with 15+ years of professional teaching experience.

Teaching Style:
● Share the joy of learning
● Learn with my learners
● Welcoming class culture
● Patient and... 
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