5 Tips for Teaching Presidential Contributions on Presidents' Day

5 Tips for Teaching Presidential Contributions on Presidents' Day


Though a small percentage of your students may learn well from rote memorization, many need a more engaging lesson to help them retain facts, specific information, and comparisons among our American Presidents. Teaching Presidential Contributions to your middle school and high school students can move beyond boring memorization with the right teaching strategies and a sure-fire lesson plan! Perfect for a lesson before or after Presidents' Day, or really any time of year, learning about the contributions of our Presidents can be engaging, fun, and even memorable.
 Though a small percentage of your students may learn well from rote memorization, many need a more engaging lesson to help them retain facts, specific information, and comparisons among our American Presidents. Teaching Presidential Contributions to your middle school and high school students can move beyond boring memorization with the right teaching strategies and a sure-fire lesson plan! Perfect for a lesson before or after Presidents' Day, or really any time of year, learning about the contributions of our Presidents can be engaging, fun, and even memorable. #teaching #lessonplans #UShistory #Presidentsday #USPresidents #Presidentialcontributions


With walking tours, centers and small group activities, matching games, an engaging Facebook-based research activity, and scavenger hunts, your Presidents' Day lessons can break the monotony of everyday history. By traveling through the last three centuries, students can compare and contrast those who have held our highest governmental office - the Office of the President. They can also tie this knowledge to general civics education and US History content. These 5 tips for teaching Presidential Contributions allow you to take what works in your lesson plan, and leave what doesn't!
Though a small percentage of your students may learn well from rote memorization, many need a more engaging lesson to help them retain facts, specific information, and comparisons among our American Presidents. Teaching Presidential Contributions to your middle school and high school students can move beyond boring memorization with the right teaching strategies and a sure-fire lesson plan! Perfect for a lesson before or after Presidents' Day, or really any time of year, learning about the contributions of our Presidents can be engaging, fun, and even memorable. #teaching #lessonplans #UShistory #Presidentsday #USPresidents #Presidentialcontributions


1. Guide your students on a Walking Tour through history by actively exploring ten of our most famous presidents with centers on biographical and political information, their path to presidency, their most significant contributions, their daily life as president, and miscellaneous interesting facts!

2. Bring back the Matching Game of your students' fondest childhood memories by timing them while they match biographical and political information with each president's name and picture! Have your students MATCH OFF by seeing who can compete for the fastest time.

3. Allow your students a bit of social media time to 'FRIEND' our Presidents and 'LIKE' their About Me sections! Use this template to create fake Facebook profiles for the Presidents and then post them all together on the classroom Facebook Timeline.

4. Send your kids on a Scavenger Hunt as they search for answers to clue cards on the Presidents! Regroup and discuss or have students answer wrap-up questions to reflect on their findings.

5.  Tie the information students have learned on the Presidents into our overall governmental framework with a Response Group Activity! Have them reflect on the responsibilities of the President, the qualifications of the office, and our most popular presidents to wrap up.


Though a small percentage of your students may learn well from rote memorization, many need a more engaging lesson to help them retain facts, specific information, and comparisons among our American Presidents. Teaching Presidential Contributions to your middle school and high school students can move beyond boring memorization with the right teaching strategies and a sure-fire lesson plan! Perfect for a lesson before or after Presidents' Day, or really any time of year, learning about the contributions of our Presidents can be engaging, fun, and even memorable. #teaching #lessonplans #UShistory #Presidentsday #USPresidents #Presidentialcontributions
Using these 5 tips for teaching Presidential Contributions on Presidents' Day, you'll leave a lasting impression on your middle school and high school students. Best case scenario, they'll spend their day off contemplating government, civics, and the contributions of our significant American Presidents. Well, a teacher can have lofty dreams, right?

Happy Teaching (and dreaming...)!



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Michele Luck
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Why Teaching Black History is not just a February Thing

Why Teaching Black History is not just a February Thing


If you flip through any history textbook, you’re sure to find African American faces throughout. Many of America’s important leaders and historic figures are black - so why do we only spend one month learning about them? The biggest favor your can do your middle school and high school students is to teach about black history all year around. Teaching black history isn’t just a February thing. Integrating black history into your year-round lesson plans will prepare students for in-depth learning, provide an unbiased education about America, and connect students of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and beliefs.

If you flip through any history textbook, you’re sure to find African American faces throughout. Many of America’s important leaders and historic figures are black - so why do we only spend one month learning about them? The biggest favor your can do your middle school and high school students is to teach about black history all year around. Teaching black history isn’t just a February thing. Integrating black history into your year-round lesson plans will prepare students for in-depth learning, provide an unbiased education about America, and connect students of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and beliefs.

She did what?! Consider Nikki Clarke’s unexpected approach to teaching black history in Teach Magazine. Surely none of her students expected to learn about potato chips when she mentioned black history, but teachers must stay vigilant in highlighting the vast accomplishments by all members of our country. Brushing over 10 African American accomplishments in 30 days may seem sufficient to a teacher trying to integrate black history into their curriculum, but limiting this instruction to the shortest month of the year hardly does it justice.


Teaching Tolerance highlights the importance of de-stigmatizing black history. They warn teachers not to trivialize one person or event, and not to interrupt everyday activities to highlight a topic of black history. Because, if you’re integrating black history into your everyday lesson plans, you aren’t scrambling to cover a historical figure in a twenty-minute time block. Your students are prepared, continually learning, and grasping black history within the fuller context of America’s history.

Teaching black history year round is crucial to every Social Studies classroom, but even if you’ve successfully laid a sturdy groundwork for black history throughout the year, expanding on this education during black history month can reinforce learning. Try using a review activity like this Important African Americans Biography Centers Activity to encourage students to recall important contributions of famous African Americans they’ve previously studied.
If you flip through any history textbook, you’re sure to find African American faces throughout. Many of America’s important leaders and historic figures are black - so why do we only spend one month learning about them? The biggest favor your can do your middle school and high school students is to teach about black history all year around. Teaching black history isn’t just a February thing. Integrating black history into your year-round lesson plans will prepare students for in-depth learning, provide an unbiased education about America, and connect students of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and beliefs.
Or, highlight one of our most famous American activists, Martin Luther King, Jr., with a Scavenger Hunt, task card activity, or Walking Tour with this activity. Threading these activities into an all-inclusive curriculum will ensure that students understand the importance of their African American leaders and innovators, but also that they clearly understand the all-encompassing thread woven throughout their lives by their black predecessors.

If you flip through any history textbook, you’re sure to find African American faces throughout. Many of America’s important leaders and historic figures are black - so why do we only spend one month learning about them? The biggest favor your can do your middle school and high school students is to teach about black history all year around. Teaching black history isn’t just a February thing. Integrating black history into your year-round lesson plans will prepare students for in-depth learning, provide an unbiased education about America, and connect students of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and beliefs.
Many teachers shy away from teaching controversial topics, but cramming all of your black history instruction into one month does a disservice to your students. Integrate these ideas and important peoples throughout your lesson plans all year. Provide an adequate groundwork for students to understand the contributions of black Americans. By using lessons like these throughout the year, your students will have a better understanding of the wide-reaching accomplishments of their fellow Americans of all colors.


Happy Teaching!


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Michele Luck
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How to Plan a World Religions Lesson in 5 Minutes or Less

How to Plan a World Religions Lesson in 5 Minutes or Less


Let's face it. Whether you're a first-year teacher or a seasoned educator, lesson planning can be a time-consuming, dreaded activity. Core content, standards, modifications, learning styles, diversification; there is just so much... well, planning. In the modern age of the Internet, you can be overwhelmed with the never-ending online resources at your fingertips. Finding those gems - those thorough, effective resources that you can implement year after year, tweaking to fit seamlessly into your semester plan - is priceless.

Especially when developing World Religions activities appropriate for your middle school or high school lesson plans, lesson planning can be daunting. But it doesn't have to be.

Let's face it. Whether you're a first-year teacher or a seasoned educator, lesson planning can be a time-consuming, dreaded activity. Core content, standards, modifications, learning styles, diversification; there is just so much... well, planning. In the modern age of the Internet, you can be overwhelmed with the never-ending online resources at your fingertips. Finding those gems - those thorough, effective resources that you can implement year after year, tweaking to fit seamlessly into your semester plan - is priceless. #socialstudies #lessonplan #history #worldreligions #teaching

The key to implementing an already-existing activity into your lesson plan is to modify it to fit your needs. Finding lesson plans that go so far as to offer up these modifications and implementation suggestions for you makes this process even easier! Take what works in your classroom and leave the rest. Try new strategies or stick with your tried-and-true methods. Use existing resources to make your job easier while making your students' education better


The topic of World Religions is vast and even controversial at times. Providing valid, insightful information, presented in an effective or interesting manner, isn't always easy, but it is possible! Using a ready-made activity plan like this World Religions Timeline Project Activity simplifies the work you need to put in to your daily plan. And, this activity plan allows you to plan a World Religions lesson in 5 minutes or less! Simply slide this complete activity, in whatever form works for you, into your unit plan as an introductory activity or for content review.

This specific lesson plan works for you and how you need it to. Use it as a group activity, an individual assignment, a make-up activity, for introduction of ideas, or for review! Use the included timeline resources for a research-and-document activity or even for a human timeline!

Let's face it. Whether you're a first-year teacher or a seasoned educator, lesson planning can be a time-consuming, dreaded activity. Core content, standards, modifications, learning styles, diversification; there is just so much... well, planning. In the modern age of the Internet, you can be overwhelmed with the never-ending online resources at your fingertips. Finding those gems - those thorough, effective resources that you can implement year after year, tweaking to fit seamlessly into your semester plan - is priceless. #socialstudies #lessonplan #history #worldreligions #teaching

As a group activity:

Assign students into pairs or small groups. Distribute the research sheet and timeline components to each group with assigned event cards. Instruct students to research and discuss their assigned events. Allow students to present the information they gathered to the class.

As an individual assignment:

Assign desired event pages and timeline components. Have each student create a complete timeline for posting, presenting, or otherwise utilizing. 


Let's face it. Whether you're a first-year teacher or a seasoned educator, lesson planning can be a time-consuming, dreaded activity. Core content, standards, modifications, learning styles, diversification; there is just so much... well, planning. In the modern age of the Internet, you can be overwhelmed with the never-ending online resources at your fingertips. Finding those gems - those thorough, effective resources that you can implement year after year, tweaking to fit seamlessly into your semester plan - is priceless. #socialstudies #lessonplan #history #worldreligions #teaching
Don't complicate your lesson planning process. Why spend hours brainstorming, researching, designing, documenting, organizing, and implementing unproven lesson plan ideas and activities when there are so many ready-made lessons at your fingertips? Instead, browse for thoroughness, effectiveness, and accuracy, and spend just 5 minutes modifying lesson plans like the World Religions Timeline Project Activity to work for you. You deserve to spend the rest of the time relaxing. (Who are we kidding? You'll be grading papers. But still.)

Happy Teaching!


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Michele Luck
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Dig Up the American Colonies to Review US History

Dig Up the American Colonies to Review US History



Though your middle school and high school US History students may have a vague understanding of who founded America, they've likely let go of the intimate knowledge of when, how, and why. Reintroducing the American Colonies will help to reinforce skills and review knowledge they learned earlier in the year. By using a hands-on approach, including response group activities, centers, and even an archaeological dig, students review information about basic US History in a fun context.

 Though your middle school and high school US History students may have a vague understanding of who founded America, they've likely let go of the intimate knowledge of when, how, and why. Reintroducing the American Colonies will help to reinforce skills and review knowledge they learned earlier in the year. By using a hands-on approach, including response group activities, centers, and even an archaeological dig, students review information about basic US History in a fun context. #ushistory #middleschool #highschool #tpt #americanhistory #americansettlement #archaeologicaldig #historyfun

Your middle school and high school US History students will appreciate a change of pace when you blanket their lesson plans with fun and engaging reviews, like centers activities and archaeological digs. Getting students moving, motivated, and intrigued will help to encourage deeper learning and will also help them to retain more knowledge for test time and end-of-year review! 

Fun Fact! What was the first successful colony? Hop over to Scholastic for the answer.

If your students enjoy practical applications of learning, adding the American Colonial Settlement Centers Activity or Archaeological Dig into your lesson plans is sure to spark an interest. Students have the opportunity to engage in group centers to collect information, create a human timeline, dig an archaeological dig site, review contextual information, play a matching game, and prepare a study guide for test time.
 Though your middle school and high school US History students may have a vague understanding of who founded America, they've likely let go of the intimate knowledge of when, how, and why. Reintroducing the American Colonies will help to reinforce skills and review knowledge they learned earlier in the year. By using a hands-on approach, including response group activities, centers, and even an archaeological dig, students review information about basic US History in a fun context. #ushistory #middleschool #highschool #tpt #americanhistory #americansettlement #archaeologicaldig #historyfun

Also, middle school and high school students can engage in US History review with Comparing the American Colonies - Response Group or Centers Activity. Students will work cooperatively to gather information on education, government, business and trade, community life, geography, settlement, and more, in each colony, and then perform different comparison/contrast engagements. Presenting them with this different approach to learning about the Colonies will surely engage them in a way that will help them retain similarities and differences among the colonies.

 Though your middle school and high school US History students may have a vague understanding of who founded America, they've likely let go of the intimate knowledge of when, how, and why. Reintroducing the American Colonies will help to reinforce skills and review knowledge they learned earlier in the year. By using a hands-on approach, including response group activities, centers, and even an archaeological dig, students review information about basic US History in a fun context. #ushistory #middleschool #highschool #tpt #americanhistory #americansettlement #archaeologicaldig #historyfun
By presenting your middle and high school students with these alternative learning activities, they're less likely to be bored with repetitive content. Instead, they'll embrace the hands-on learning approach, engage with classmates, develop cooperative learning skills, and work together to review information in a fun and informative way! Using these interactive activities will surely enhance the learning experience in your US History classroom year after year.

Happy Teaching!

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Michele Luck
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5 Strategies for Teaching Primary Sources

5 Strategies for Teaching Primary Sources


The Library of Congress appropriately categorizes primary sources as the "raw materials of history," emphasizing the importance of analyzing, studying, and understanding these basic building blocks of any historical fact. By connecting students with firsthand facts and experiences, primary sources allow students to connect to the history on a deeper, more complex level. By using primary sources in your classroom, you're not only presenting critical and foundational information, but also helping students to formulate effective thinking strategies, critical thinking skills, and processing skills.

The Library of Congress appropriately categorizes primary sources as the "raw materials of history," emphasizing the importance of analyzing, studying, and understanding these basic building blocks of any historical fact. By connecting students with firsthand facts and experiences, primary sources allow students to connect to the history on a deeper, more complex level. By using primary sources in your classroom, you're not only presenting critical and foundational information, but also helping students to formulate effective thinking strategies, critical thinking skills, and processing skills. #lessonplans #primarysources #primarysourceanalysis #alessonplanforteachers #teacherspayteachers #teaching

By using these raw materials, or primary sources, a teacher can present a plethora of historical information. However, students may be intimidated or confused by primary sources as they were sometimes written many decades ago, with lengthy verbiage, colloquial language, and advanced conceptual knowledge. Using these 5 strategies for teaching primary sources, it will be easier to break down the primary source at hand, analyze it, and then use the knowledge obtained to suit the lesson. By utilizing bellringers, primary source images, guided analysis questions, think-pair-share activities, and skills practice, your middle school and high school students are less likely to be intimidated by primary sources and more likely to grasp and retain the information within said documents.


1. Use bellringers or large assignments to quickly evaluate different themes or people. By using bellringers with this evaluation component, students can quickly assess the information at hand, pick out pertinent relationships (themes, people, comparisons, differences) and regurgitate the information in whichever method you've planned. Bellringers get students thinking quickly and without as much intimidation - students are more likely to approach the information unbiased and ready to absorb. By using primary sources in your bellringers, students get firsthand knowledge and experience with the document at hand.

2. Use images with spiral questioning format. Start with easy questions and gradually formulate harder inquiries. Throwing your students into primary source documents "head first" is a recipe for disaster. Instead, stairstepping the complexity of the documents as well as the questions and/or information obtained from the documents will ensure that your students aren't quickly deterred  from utilizing primary source documents. Your visual learners will also surely benefit from the use of images in conjunction with the wordy documents.

The Library of Congress appropriately categorizes primary sources as the "raw materials of history," emphasizing the importance of analyzing, studying, and understanding these basic building blocks of any historical fact. By connecting students with firsthand facts and experiences, primary sources allow students to connect to the history on a deeper, more complex level. By using primary sources in your classroom, you're not only presenting critical and foundational information, but also helping students to formulate effective thinking strategies, critical thinking skills, and processing skills. #lessonplans #primarysources #primarysourceanalysis #alessonplanforteachers #teacherspayteachers #teaching

3. Use guided analysis questions to practice skills with multiple types of primary source documents. Once your students are little more familiar with primary source documents and how to utilize them for information, answering questions, and inquiring, they are more prepared to utilize more difficult documents. Using guided analysis questions will allow your students the opportunity to differentiate and analyze the information without feeling overwhelmed or unsure of where to start.

4. Work toward reading more in-depth and challenging documents with original wording to further develop skills. Once your students have mastered easier primary source documents, image analysis, and guided analysis questions, move into more in-depth documents. Students should have a better understanding of key points, meaning, and interpretation, and will be able to analyze difficult documents more easily. Forcing students to analyze original wording, completely with colloquial phrasing and above-grade-level text will encourage them to use context clues to grasp deeper meaning.

5. Do a think-pair-share activity with the lesson focus on content while practicing the skill of analysis. By using a think-pair-share activity, students will utilize their partner's strengths to collaboratively analyze the primary source document at hand. This offers a fresh perspective, new interpretation, and deeper understanding of the topic at hand. Use other think-pair-share variations for variety in the classroom.

By using these 5 strategies for teaching primary sources in the classroom, your middle school and high school students will grasp a deeper understanding of these historic documents, develop methods and skills for easy analysis, and learn to utilize these raw documents in their regular Social Studies study.

With over 84 pages of primary source documents and activities, this United States Complete Primary Source Analysis Bundle Set is perfect for your middle school and high school US History lesson plans. Using these primary source analysis activities, students are sure to master these 5 strategies for understanding and analyzing primary sources in the classroom.

The Library of Congress appropriately categorizes primary sources as the "raw materials of history," emphasizing the importance of analyzing, studying, and understanding these basic building blocks of any historical fact. By connecting students with firsthand facts and experiences, primary sources allow students to connect to the history on a deeper, more complex level. By using primary sources in your classroom, you're not only presenting critical and foundational information, but also helping students to formulate effective thinking strategies, critical thinking skills, and processing skills. #lessonplans #primarysources #primarysourceanalysis #alessonplanforteachers #teacherspayteachers #teachingHappy Teaching!


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Michele Luck
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Using Visual Teaching & Chunking Techniques to Explore New Content

Using Visual Teaching & Chunking Techniques to Explore New Content


Teaching an entire geographical region can be intimidating, not only for the teacher but also for her students. Thinking about a continent in the context of its numerous countries, cultures, geographical differences, languages, business practices, and people, can overwhelm even the most diligent and detail-oriented pupil. However, using visual teaching methods and practicing chunking techniques can help students to analyze, categorize, and develop a deeper understanding of the content knowledge, ensuring they are able to better retain the specific information of each region.

Teaching an entire geographical region can be intimidating, not only for the teacher but also for her students. Thinking about a continent in the context of its numerous countries, cultures, geographical differences, languages, business practices, and people, can overwhelm even the most diligent and detail-oriented pupil. However, using visual teaching methods and practicing chunking techniques can help students to analyze, categorize, and develop a deeper understanding of the content knowledge, ensuring they are able to better retain the specific information of each region. #visualteaching #chunking #lessonplans #teaching #socialstudies #middleschool #highschool #tpt #teacherspayteachers

Implementing learning techniques like visual teaching and chunking will help your students to better grasp the information they're studying. By executing a fun and engaging walking tour like the Latin America Walking Tour featured in these images, students can use these methods to compare and contrast, explore, and retain critical regional information. These techniques are basic and are probably already in your wheelhouse to some degree, but formally expressing them in your lesson plans will help your students to transition from users of information to vessels of information.


Teaching an entire geographical region can be intimidating, not only for the teacher but also for her students. Thinking about a continent in the context of its numerous countries, cultures, geographical differences, languages, business practices, and people, can overwhelm even the most diligent and detail-oriented pupil. However, using visual teaching methods and practicing chunking techniques can help students to analyze, categorize, and develop a deeper understanding of the content knowledge, ensuring they are able to better retain the specific information of each region. #visualteaching #chunking #lessonplans #teaching #socialstudies #middleschool #highschool #tpt #teacherspayteachers
Though there are many different learning styles, visual learners are likely abundant in your classroom. Many students learn much better when presented with images, charts, graphs, and other visuals. Using images to reinforce, compare, and contrast information can help students to understand and remember specific details. This Latin America Walking Tour guides students through Chile with images of the land, history, people, and business.


Teaching an entire geographical region can be intimidating, not only for the teacher but also for her students. Thinking about a continent in the context of its numerous countries, cultures, geographical differences, languages, business practices, and people, can overwhelm even the most diligent and detail-oriented pupil. However, using visual teaching methods and practicing chunking techniques can help students to analyze, categorize, and develop a deeper understanding of the content knowledge, ensuring they are able to better retain the specific information of each region. #visualteaching #chunking #lessonplans #teaching #socialstudies #middleschool #highschool #tpt #teacherspayteachers Students can also delve into Brazil and Mexico with similar images of the land, history, people, and business. By comparing these images with those in Chile, students can make comparisons and contrast information between the two countries.
Teaching an entire geographical region can be intimidating, not only for the teacher but also for her students. Thinking about a continent in the context of its numerous countries, cultures, geographical differences, languages, business practices, and people, can overwhelm even the most diligent and detail-oriented pupil. However, using visual teaching methods and practicing chunking techniques can help students to analyze, categorize, and develop a deeper understanding of the content knowledge, ensuring they are able to better retain the specific information of each region. #visualteaching #chunking #lessonplans #teaching #socialstudies #middleschool #highschool #tpt #teacherspayteachers

While certain stations in the Walking Tour will guide students to information for a certain country, i.e. introducing the people of Chile as pictured, other stations allow for even more comparing and contrasting with chunking techniques.

By following the discussion questions, completing charts, and analyzing the differences, students can use chunked information to draw conclusions about the region.
 Teaching an entire geographical region can be intimidating, not only for the teacher but also for her students. Thinking about a continent in the context of its numerous countries, cultures, geographical differences, languages, business practices, and people, can overwhelm even the most diligent and detail-oriented pupil. However, using visual teaching methods and practicing chunking techniques can help students to analyze, categorize, and develop a deeper understanding of the content knowledge, ensuring they are able to better retain the specific information of each region. #visualteaching #chunking #lessonplans #teaching #socialstudies #middleschool #highschool #tpt #teacherspayteachers

Activities that use visual teaching and chunking techniques help students to draw parallels and digest information more thoroughly, ensuring they'll better retain the knowledge for test time. It will also help them to understand concepts on a deeper level. Blanketing your Social Studies lesson plans with these techniques will help middle school and high school students breeze through your classes.


Teaching an entire geographical region can be intimidating, not only for the teacher but also for her students. Thinking about a continent in the context of its numerous countries, cultures, geographical differences, languages, business practices, and people, can overwhelm even the most diligent and detail-oriented pupil. However, using visual teaching methods and practicing chunking techniques can help students to analyze, categorize, and develop a deeper understanding of the content knowledge, ensuring they are able to better retain the specific information of each region. #visualteaching #chunking #lessonplans #teaching #socialstudies #middleschool #highschool #tpt #teacherspayteachers
Happy Teaching!



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Brittany Cloyd
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