Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

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Spoken Word

September 7, 2020

Brandon Leake – America’s Got Talent

I’ve been thinking, listening, reading, having conversations and researching on how to address racial justice in my teaching and learning. I think the world works in magical ways when ‘stuff’ happens that I’m not looking for. And sometimes ‘different stuff’ intersects which, in this case, has led to this blog post.

First I want to say that my favorite podcast at the moment is Cult of Pedagogy started by a middle school Language Arts teacher Jennifer Gonzalez. Jennifer has brought together an experienced group of educators who help make the Cult of Pedagogy. If you’re looking for a podcast that will push on your thinking and curious where you might find ideas that are sometimes raw and grounded in reality combined with thoughtful educational research, then I suggest that you check out Cult of Pedagogy. Many of the episodes are Jennifer’s interviews with teachers, learning experts, parents, and other people who make things happen in education. There are a handful on the social justice topic. If you’d rather read than listen, each new episode comes out also in an email, on Sunday’s. You can learn about all that she has to offer and sign up for her weekly emails on the START HERE PAGE. An example of the podcast resources that Jennifer provides is episode #147 Why White Students Need Multicultural and Social Justice Education  from June 7th an interview with Sheldon Eakins who founded the Leading Equity Center, an online resource for educators.

I was first introduced to poetry by my 7th grade language arts teacher Mrs. Leeds. Each week on Friday we would learn about a poem, write it down in our poetry notebook, and over the next week memorize it and each student in my class would stand and recite it. I can dig into my memory today and recite Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost and In Flanders Fields by John McCrae and probably a few others. Every so often I rediscover my poetry notebook and think about how nervous I was standing up in my front my class. I don’t recall actually learning how to recite poetry. We’ve come a long way in this area; now we have poetry slams, hip hop, jazz poetry, beat poetry, spoken word, and Poetry Out Loud (POL). POL is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation, and the state and jurisdictional arts agencies. The Maine Arts Commission administers the recitation program.

I’ve been curious for some time about how ‘poetry’ has, for the most part, been taught in English or language arts class. Why poetry is considered an art form yet in schools we don’t include it when we reference visual and performing arts. In our standards documents it’s not clearly defined as part of the arts. When I try putting poetry in context I explain it like this: in schools poetry is behind the English teaching door and in the real world it is part of the performance arena.

I wanted to better understand this separation so I did a little sleuthing on the internet and, of course, I start with the Greeks. From the Ancient Greek word ποιεω (pronounced poieo) which means ‘I create’. Definition: an art form in which human language is used for its aesthetic qualities in addition to, or instead of, its notional and semantic content. In most poetry, it is the connotations and the “baggage” that words carry (the weight of words) that are most important. Poetry.org.

And further on about ‘spoken word’. Spoken word is poetry, and more recently spoken word poetic performance art that is word-based. It is an oral art that focuses on the aesthetics of word play such as intonation and voice inflection. It is a “catchall” term that includes any kind of poetry recited aloud… Unlike written poetry, it has less to do with physical, on the page aesthetics and more to do with phonaesthetics, or the aesthetics of sound. Wikipedia

A focus on words, sounds, presentations and performances using poetry has become more prevalent in our society since about the 1980’s but certainly it is embedded and has been for years in many cultures and their traditions. The connection between poetry as a performance and music is closely aligned.

In fact, in Ancient Greece, the spoken word was the most trusted repository for the best of their thought, and inducements would be offered to men (such as the rhapsodes) who set themselves the task of developing minds capable of retaining and voices capable of communicating the treasures of their culture.

I think poetry’s biggest potential is to light kids up and engage them in learning about themselves and the world. If only Mrs. Leeds had someone guide her in the pedagogy of teaching poetry. A good reason to promote integrated curriculum.

Here’s where the intersection of learning takes place for me. On my phone last week a video from America’s Got Talent popped up. A powerful performance by Spoken Word Artist Brandon Leake began to help me formulate curriculum for racial justice. You can LEARN more about Brandon and the organization he established Called to Move. I suggest using Brandon’s performance with your students.

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Amazing Materials

September 5, 2020

Wicked deals

If you’re an art teacher and can’t make the sale on Sunday but interested in some materials please email me at meartsed@gmail.com.

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Arts from Home

June 25, 2020

Two or three offerings

Please share this information with others! 

DANCE FROM A DISTANCE! 

Join experienced Dance Educator, Elly Lovin, for a mini-camp experience from your home or backyard this summer. Designed for children ages 4-10, but open to the whole family! Each week our dance explorations will center around a different theme, while utilizing elements of movement to give dancers an understanding of how to use space, force, flow, levels, tempos, locomotion, focus, etc. to create their own movements. Themes: 6/30 Colors; 7/7 Night At the Museum; 7/14 Enchanted Garden; 7/21 Sky & Space; 7/28 Unicorns & Dragons; 8/4 Super Powered Dance.

Classes meet on Zoom on Tuesdays, June 30-August 4 Six Weeks 12:30-1PM Eastern (11:30 Central/10:30 Mountain/9:30 Pacific)

Cost (per household): $55 (Venmo to @Elly-Lovin) Sign up with a friend and both parties receive $10 off their registration!)

Register today at www.ellylovin.com/dancing-in-place

ORDER TODAY

Dance @ Home Kits Available! $25 Shipped w/ Camp registration

A selection of my favorite props curated to provide hours of movement fun at home or on the go. Eco-friendly drawstring bag contains mini-mat spot markers, egg shaker, bean bag, dance ribbons, chiffon scarf, pom-poms, stretchy band, and a go-to list of ideas about how to move and use each prop.

If you have any questions please contact Elly Lovin at ellylovin@gmail.com.

TAKE OUT ART

Creative kits offered by Sweet Tree Arts. Online order your favorite summer activities – a variety of kits are available with freedom, choice and creative thinking in mind. As many of you know many camp programs are not running during this summer because of COVID> This is a great opportunity to encourage your students to continue making art by starting with a kit that has everything needed to create. If you have more questions please contact Lindsay Pinchbeck at lspinchbeck@sweettreearts.org

ORDER TODAY


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Tracy’s COVID Teaching Story +

June 24, 2020

Music teacher extraordinaire

Tracy Williamson

My musical career started in 4th grade when I picked up the flute in the beginning band at Metcalf Middle School in Exeter-West Greenwich, RI. My middle school music teacher, Joe Smith, was an inspiration to me and all my classmates. He was quirky, fun, and taught us interesting and different music.  It was truly an amazing middle school music experience. I would definitely say that he inspired me to be the kind of teacher I am today. 

I went to Boston University for my Bachelors degree in Flute Performance and to Boston Conservatory after that for my Masters degree in Flute Performance and Music Education. I then moved up to Maine and finished my certification requirements through USM while playing in the Southern Maine Community Orchestra and continuing to seek out performance opportunities in the area.

My first teaching job was at Marion T. Morse Elementary School in Lisbon Falls teaching K-5 General Music and beginning band. I was hired at Gorham Middle School (GMS) in 2003 when the school was built and I was tasked with developing a brand new middle school music program that had not previously existed. Currently I teach General Music to all 6th & 7th grade students, Chorus for middle school and Steel Band to middle and high school students. My amazing colleague, Rose Skillling, also teaches GMS General Music as well as the Band and Jazz Band program.

I have always been a huge proponent of educational technology and the positive impact it can have on music education particularly in schedules where we see students so infrequently. dHaving Apple devices, a large portion of my curriculum has been based in Garage Band for many years. So when our technology director announced that the entire 6th grade would be moving to Chromebooks a few years ago I had a panic attack thinking I was going to completely lose the amazing possibilities I had opened up for the students. I did some research and I found a couple of apps that would work on the Chromebooks in a similar way and thankfully administration was super supportive and on board with purchasing Soundtrap and WeVideo for every student in the 6th grade.  Unbeknownst to me, this was about to open up a whole new avenue of connections across the world for me and the students.

At the time, Soundtrap, a small company based in Sweden, was still only a few years old and not that well known. But there happened to be a Maine educator who had connected with them and taken a position as an educational consultant. I quickly connected with her, and we teamed up to present Soundtrap at the student MLTI conference the same year I introduced the software to my curriculum. From there, the opportunities for sharing student work, lessons, ideas, connecting with music educators, blog posts, and articles just kept coming. Soundtrap has since been acquired by Spotify and is being widely used by educators and musicians. In January of 2020, through Soundtrap, I connected with the Society for Online Music Education and was invited to direct a Virtual Choir project for the International Music Education Summit to be premiered in mid-March. There were a couple of other Virtual Choir projects out there that I knew about but this was to be a new vision, one that included collaboration amongst participants, making Soundtrap the ideal software to use. We had a handful of teachers signed up for the pilot project. Things were going calmly and smoothly, and then COVID-19 hit us.

With the swift move to on-line learning, every music educator in the world immediately started to seek out virtual ensembles for students to participate in. Our project was quickly populated with hundreds of teachers and students and my director position got a lot more complicated! I asked two Maine colleagues, Rachel Scala-Bolduc and Patrick Volker, to help create vocal practice tracks to support the diverse group of new participants. Another music educator who teaches full-time at a virtual school suggested I try a Zoom rehearsal for participants to help them learn the parts. She hosted a how-to-run-a-virtual-rehearsal webinar that I participated in which ended up being an invaluable resource. The edit of the recordings took many, many hours of organizing, communicating, editing, and figuring out how to make the best quality audio. At one point I was playing the tracks for my husband and he suggested just dipping the volume at a certain point and it made a huge difference! During another moment of frustration, I listened to one of Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choirs to get some inspiration and realized that reverb was a key component to blending the voices that I had yet to try. I am so thankful for this learning opportunity because it gave me a head start for what was to come with the extension of distance learning to the end of the year.

As soon as our school announced the closure in March, I set up Zoom virtual rehearsals with the Chorus classes right away. We continued rehearsing just the same as we had in school. The only difference being, I couldn’t hear them as a group and they couldn’t hear each other. We experimented together, recorded during Zooms, recorded after Zooms, talked about other apps that might accommodate multiple singers, but we just kept on our path of our end-of-year performance goals and figured out everything together along the way. The students continued learning music we had started in school and also learned new music purely through our virtual rehearsals. In the end, they have recorded six pieces of music during our time home due to COVID-19, all of which I am turning into virtual choir videos to serve as our “spring performance”. While this is certainly not an ideal scenario for ensembles to rehearse, it is temporary and it can be successful!  

Unfortunately, because the steel pans are housed at school, and the steel band program is extracurricular, that is now in a bit of a holding pattern until we know the future of getting back into the school this Fall.  I have been researching apps that could provide some type of virtual pan experience to get the students by in the meantime and I have been in communication with our facilities department about potentially holding outdoor  parking lot rehearsals for steel band next year.

General Music Class was another whole challenge when we moved to distance learning! At GMS, students have 7-9 week rotations of Allied Arts. Both the 6th & 7th Grade Music Classes were about halfway through the rotation when we moved to online classes so we had established relationships and structures ahead of time. However, the student rotation change to a new Allied Arts class was scheduled for right after April break. This meant students and teachers connecting with and getting to know each other for the first time in a new content area, virtually.  As an Allied Arts team we worked together to help our current classes connect with the next teacher through Google Classroom. In Music Class, we introduced a Tabata composition project that combined physical activity and Music to help make the Music to PE transition smoother. The last rotation has been a challenge. It has been difficult to connect with kids with the asynchronous model that our district adopted due to many class meetings happening simultaneously. I have learned a lot about what I need to change in order to effectively teach new music concepts to individuals in an online format as opposed to a full group in person where we utilize a lot of repetition and group collaboration to help support learning. Although there are plenty of other variables in a new grouping of students, there was a marked difference in the performance of the General Music students who started before distance learning and those who started purely in the online format. This summer, my colleague and I plan to meet to talk about some of these challenges and make plans for how we can better teach General Music class should we remain in distance learning this Fall.

There have been a lot of worries circulating amongst Music teachers with research studies outlining the risks of the high transmission rate of COVID-19 through singing and instrument playing in conjunction with news of music educators being laid off in districts around the country.  The best thing we can do right now is to show our communities and administrators that, despite temporary limitations, music can and should still continue in our schools regardless of whether we are in the building or learning remotely. Think of solutions that will work and suggest them to colleagues and administrators before something is suggested for you! That also requires creativity, experimenting and out of the box thinking from all music educators. During the last few months, I had an overall participation rate of about 80% in my chorus students with a couple of overwhelmed students asking to drop and a couple of students asking to join because their schedule was suddenly free to do so. I had students completing Music Class work first thing in the morning saying they liked to do “the fun stuff” first. I had parents emailing about how much fun they had helping their child compose music or how amazing it was to hear the final virtual choir recording after hearing their child singing their part alone at home. The more success stories we share, the more everyone will continue to see the value in continued music and arts education whether we are teaching in the comfort of our classrooms or through the virtual world.  

Here are the various end-products I’ve worked on with the GMS Virtual Chorus:

“I See Colors” – May 2020

Audio recorded in Soundtrap, edited in Garage Band, video collected in Flipgrid, edited in iMovie, collage and effects in WeVideo:

 

“Home” – April 2020

Audio recorded in Soundtrap, edited in Garage Band, slideshow videos of staff messages collected in Flipgrid, compiled in iMovie:

 

“Between the Bells” – March 2020

Audio recorded in Soundtrap, edited in Garage Band, stock images from pexels.com, lyrics added in Adobe After Effects:

 

“The Tiger” – May 2020

Audio recorded in Soundtrap, edited in Garage Band, video recorded in a Zoom session, compiled and lyrics & effects added in WeVideo:

 

“The Never Ending Story” – June 2020

Audio recorded in Soundtrap, edited in Garage Band, pictures from the Gorham MIddle School Facebook page, compiled in iMovie:

 

6th Grade General Music:

“Tabata Soundtrack Project”  

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Juneteenth

June 19, 2020

Teaching Tolerance

I didn’t learn about Juneteenth until I was an adult. I wonder why it was never part of my formal K-12 education. Teaching Tolerance website has included a blog post today that was written by Monica J. Bell and actually first published June 18, 2015. It provides history and clear information which I encourage you to read as a teacher, parent, adult seeking clarity so you can be better informed living in America or beyond.

So, what is Juneteenth? The name combines the words June and nineteenth, the day in 1865 when enslaved Texans in Galveston were informed that slavery was over. Learn more in today’s post called Happy Juneteenth! from Teaching Tolerance.

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Social Justice Resources

June 8, 2020

How to do better

I believe that we have a role as educators to teach about race, social justice, equity and similar topics. This education should take place in the home and in every classroom. It can take on a variety of formats from teaching kindness and understanding to teaching culture and history to looking at, listening to, and creating artwork that provides a format for conversation. At every age we need to have open conversations to help bring an understanding of the value of every person’s life.

I have started to compile a list of resources to help support educators. I will continue to add to this blog post as my research leads me to more resources. I invite you to return to this blogpost in the future. And, if you have resources please share them with me at meartsed@gmail.com so I can include them or you can post them in the comment section below.

At the end of this post there is a link to a facebook page that belongs to the British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason. He and his 6 siblings performed “a tribute to the families and communities who are affected by racism and racist violence.” Their message is one that arts educators understand: “music is a form of expression and a testament to hope and love.”

BOOKS

  • Young Children
    • Patricia Polacco books
      • Pink and Say
      • Chicken Sunday
      • Holes in the Sky
    • Ashley Bryan books
      • Beautiful Blackbird
      • Freedom Over Me
      • Infinite Hope
    • Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester
    • Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
    • Books by Ezra Jack Keats
    • Books by Leo and Diane Dillon
    • Books by Jerry and Andrea Davis Pinkney
  • Middle Grades
    • A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée
    • Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
    • New Kid by Jerry Craft
    • Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt
  • Young Adult
    • Dear Martin by Nic Stone
    • All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
    • I am Alfonso Jones by Tony Medina
  • Books to Teach White Children and Teens How to Undo Racism and White Supremacy – a long list of books available
  • the conscious kid – website of books

EDUCATIONAL BLOGS, ARTICLES, and OTHER RESOURCES

TED ED EDUCATOR RESOURCES

EDUCATION WEBSITES

OTHER RESOURCES

Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s facebook page archived livestream.

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2020 Books Challenge

May 31, 2020

Update

I think this is a great project! I’ve had the opportunity to help support this effort and it is so wonderful to get books into the hands of many children who simply don’t have any or very few books at home. I invite you to participate! If everyone gives a little there will certainly be a lot!
Educate Maine launched the 2,020 Books Challenge on March 27 with the goal of getting 2,020 books into students’ hands while supporting our local bookstores.

As of mid-May, we’ve raised $6,575 for local booksellers statewide. The challenge has also spurred book donations from other nonprofit organizations, individuals, and publishers and at least 8,000 books have been donated directly, and counting!

In addition, we are excited to announce a generous $5,000 MATCHING GRANT from the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein. Every donation of a gift card for the next $5,000 will be DOUBLED thanks to this donation!
Will you help us reach 2,020 books – that’s $20,200 to bookstores – before the end of the school year in just a few weeks? You can contribute by purchasing a gift card to your favorite bookstore and notifying us of it through THIS FORM.
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Call for MALI Teacher Leaders

May 29, 2020

Deadline – June 1

Interested in taking on a leadership role in education – the Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) might be the right match for you. Click on the images below to make them larger! Don’t hesitate, apply today. Deadline: June 1!

 

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Gray-New Gloucester High School

May 22, 2020

Zoom connection

Carol Clark, Instrumental Music Director at Gray-New Gloucester High School, recently shared a wonderful story about a zoom meeting that she arranged with someone many of you music educators may know. Below is the exciting story in Carol’s own words. Thank you Carol for sharing!

World renown composer, conductor and lecturer, Dr. Bruce Pearson, joined the Gray-New Gloucester High School Concert Band via Zoom. Although he lives in Minnesota, Dr. Pearson has had considerable impact on our students’ musical development, as many learned from his instrumental music methods. In our high school band, we typically began our class sessions with his Technique & Musicianship exercises and chorales. Now, during remote learning, they continue to work with this method at home. Dr. Pearson spent an hour talking to our students, answering questions about his life, music and the creative processes of composing and arranging. We all had a great time learning from such a kind, knowledgeable and creative teacher!

Here is a link to his website:  http://brucepearsonmusic.com/about-bruce/

From our students:
*  It was good to be able to hear Dr. Pearson’s answers to our questions. I think hearing his story and a bit of his composing process was helpful. It was also just really cool to be able to hear what he had to say, since he wrote the books that we’ve been using in band since 5th grade. Thank you.
*  I found this class interesting and informative, and I’m so glad we could do it! It was fun to hear from someone on the other side of the music we play in band, and to have some ideas and direction for approaching composing, which is something I have been interested in recently. Thank you for the opportunity!
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Call for MALI Teacher Leaders

May 21, 2020

You’re invited!

Visual, Performing and Literary Arts Teacher/

Teaching Artist Leader SEARCH: MALI – Phase 20-21

APPLICATION DEADLINE: MONDAY, JUNE 1Join us for a GREAT opportunity! The Maine Arts Leadership Initiative invites YOU, with other selected Maine teachers and teaching artists, to be part of a year-long exploration in leading your school communities and the profession in effective teaching and learning in the arts.  If you are selected, you will be expected to attend the 2020 Summer Institute, taking place virtually June 15, July 24, and in-person August 5, pending state policy.   

This year’s Institute will explore Leading with Resilience; Embedding Social and Emotional Learning in our Teaching, Ourselves, and Our Communities; and Arts Advocacy.  

If you are selected, there is no cost to attend the Institute; however the expectation is that you integrate your learnings in your classroom, your school community, and share with other educators in your region of Maine and beyond.  Full participants will receive documentation of up to 35 contact hours.   

If interested, please complete the online application form, linked here and below, by June 1.

Questions? Contact Martha Piscuskas, Director of Arts Education at the Maine Arts Commission, Martha.Piscuskas@maine.gov  207-287-2750

Year-long Expectations for Teaching Artist/Teacher leaders (TA/TAL):

  • Attend New Teacher/TA introduction cohort zoom on Monday June 15
  • Complete pre-reading/viewing and participate in online discussion (on google classroom) 
  • Attend and participate in 2 virtual discussion meetings on Wednesdays – June 24 & July 15 – (w/mixed cohorts and breakout rooms)
  • Attend August 5, Wednesday in-person day in Waterville (tbd) if possible
  • Commit to two reflection sessions as a MALI TA/TAL one with cohort, one with “thought partner”
  • Develop a personalized Growth Plan for the coming year, and practice/learn ways to share it with others
  • Engage in Fall “thought partner” one-on-one check in 
  • Attend winter retreat – tentatively February 28, 2021.  Will include update on personal goal and/or action plan 
  • Author a guest blog post on the Maine Arts Ed daily blog

JOIN US!  Become a Teacher Leader and Change Lives 

APPLY TODAY!

Questions on the Application:

Name/contact information

Administrator Name/contact information (if classroom teacher)

Paragraph of Interest — Selected individuals will be expected to be active leaders in helping to develop and support excellence in teaching and learning in Maine. A full commitment to the Institute timeline is expected as seen in the online information sheet.  Please attach a brief overview of your interest and current/past experience (if any) in Leadership. Include your experience collaborating with other arts educators and experiences relevant to the initiative.  (Please no more than ~ 500 words, about 1 page.) 

Resume/CV —  If you are a Teaching Artist, please also include websites or documentation of your teaching work.  

Letter of Reference – CLASSROOM TEACHERS: This should be from your administrator.  TEACHING ARTISTS: This should be from a school or community  organization with whom you have worked.   Please attach a Letter of Recommendation in which the person includes comments and/or examples reflecting your leadership potential and your ability to work collaboratively.  Selected individuals will be responsible for sharing their newly developed expertise and related classroom experiences with other arts educators.

Maine Arts Leadership Initiative 

Background Information

MALI MISSION

MALI’s OVERALL OBJECTIVES 

  • Create and implement a statewide plan for teacher leadership in arts education. This includes professional development opportunities, locally, regionally and statewide, which will expand on the knowledge and skills of teachers to better prepare them to teach in a student-centered and proficiency-based learning environment.
  • Develop and implement standards-based high quality teaching and learning statewide for Visual and Performing Arts 
  • Continue to build on expanding the team of arts educators and teaching artists representing all regions of Maine
  • Provide workshops and other professional development opportunities for educators 
  • Founded in 2011
  • 108 teacher leaders and teaching artists leaders have attended summer institutes on assessment, leadership, technology, creativity, proficiency-based standards-based and student-centered teaching and learning
  • Teacher leaders have presented workshops at three statewide arts education conferences, with over 600 educators attending
  • Teacher leaders facilitated regional workshops across Maine and 15 mega-regional sites across Maine
  • Maine Arts Ed Blog — 78 teachers profiled in Another Arts Teacher’s Story series 
  • Arts assessment graduate courses offered by New England Institute for
    Teacher Education
  • Nine arts education assessment webinars for Maine educators facilitated by Rob Westerberg and Catherine Ring – archived
  • Video stories of seven teacher leaders that demonstrate a standards-based arts education classroom located on Maine ARTSEducation YouTube channel
  • Teacher Leader Resource Team development of items for resource bank
  • Maine Arts Assessment Resources website
  • Partners have included MDOE, USM, MAEA, MMEA, University of Maine Performing Arts, and New England Institute for Teacher Education, Bates College

For More Information

APPLY TODAY TO BECOME A MALI TEACHER LEADER

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