Tag Archives: learning

Madame Corinne’s Happiness Project

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Madame Corinne’s Happiness Project

A Happiness Project taught in a classroom in France brings happiness to a classroom in Spain and to me! Two students taking “The Science of Happiness” course given by the University of California Berkeley were unaware that their paths would happily cross and be mutually beneficial.

My new friend, Madame Corinne, a caring teacher in France to six and seven year old creative students and I connected when Madame Corinne did a Google search and found “My Happy”.  Madame Corinne was kind enough to leave a comment sharing that she was a teacher in France. After reading her comment I was eager to ask Madame Corinne if she would like a copy of That Makes Me Happy! I noticed that her e-mail address came up with her comment on the “My Happy” comment page. I thought about sending her an e-mail, then decided not to. Yes, self-doubt held me back. In the past I would have simply given in to my self-doubt. Instead, I reminded myself how far I had come since my first blog post. I felt good about the writing, the volunteering,  and the learning. One question I now ask myself when I am presented with an opportunity is: “Why not?” I again found myself looking at Madame Corinne’s e-mail address. This time I e-mailed her. I asked if she would like a copy of my story to read to her class. Madame Corinne was so kind to say yes! She was already planning a wonderful Happiness Project for her new class and the story fit right in.

Madame Corinne began her new school year by focusing her students on happiness. I was very honored that she read “That Makes Me Happy” and had her students make Happy Rings as part of her project. Madame Corinne asked her students to think of “3 small happinesses” each morning. Students created pictures and  posted their drawings to a bulletin board.  Below are the pictures Madame Corinne shared with me. Her students were very creative with the Happy Rings. I especially liked how they personalized them, even the smiley faces! Happy Ring total has now reached 127! I also enjoyed looking at all the pictures on the bulletin board.

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Madame Corinne shared her project with a teacher in Spain. Senorita Berta will be teaching her students this happiness project and all the students from each classroom will share their ideas this year! How wonderful!

I was excited I had written that e-mail and in a small way I was apart of these terrific projects. I am still amazed at how simply reaching out has connected me to fellow happiness creators so far from my home. Creating happiness is making a difference to Madame Corinne, Senorita Berta, and their students this year. Madame Corinne’s Happiness Project not only teaches students they can create their happiness, it also teaches students even though we may be living in different countries, we CAN connect, and we CAN make a  POSITIVE difference. Everyone’s ideas are important and we can be happier by sharing them!

Thank you Madame Corinne and Senorita Berta for teaching your students about creating happiness! Thank you for sharing my story. Please thank your students for making Happy Rings!

That Makes Me Happy!

More Pictures 12/5/16

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Summer Reading

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Have you been checking out your children’s summer reading lists and preparing them with a variety of great books to read? Have you been sitting on a beach wishing you had something for yourself to read? Maybe, you have a lunch break to sit outside and eat with a good read? Well, please take a look at this!

Livehappy

This is livehappy! I received this as a birthday gift. Perfect for me, right? Sometimes I feel like my kids when they get obsessed with a toy or subject and that’s all they want for Christmas! I’ve been that way about this subject. I guess, I don’t have to tell you that. 🙂  Whether you love this subject like I do or you have a more typical interest, this magazine will keep you living happy!

I’m holding the June 2015 issue which has the Good Morning America Celebs on the cover. This issue shared GMA’s workplace well-being.  livehappy columns include Work, Home, Health, Mindset, and Self.  Many positive pictures, ideas, and quotes throughout inspire a positive mood. You will find in the June issue a Happiness Library (latest books on happiness), discussion of happiness in education (my all time favorite), pictures of Happiness Walls across North America (#happyacts), how happiness improves business, and heroes all around us.

This is one of my favorite articles that took place at Castle Hills Elementary School in Lewisville, Texas. If you look closely at the picture you will see “nearly 800 students and faculty braved the cold and rainy weather to spell out the word “Happy”. The school took time to learn about happiness and then took the #HappyActs challenge. Kindergartners all the way through fifth graders created a happiness wall featuring happy acts. The students participated in this to celebrate March 20th, the United Nations has chosen March 20th as International Day of Happiness!

School Spirit

After you enjoy reading livehappy, pass it on! If you are interested to learn more about happy acts visit their website at http://www.happyacts.org.

Find livehappy online at http://www.livehappy.com.

 

Happy reading!

 

 

I Did It!

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Happy Rings

“Happiness is not something ready made.  It comes from your own actions.”  Dalai Lama 

I did it, with help, support, and encouragement but I did it! I had an idea for a story to teach children (preschool through 2nd grade) how to help themselves to be happy. The story also concludes with making a personal ring of pictures. Using the ring will help children practice 3 happy habits deep breaths, smiling, and thinking a happy thought.

Each small step I took towards a happier me made a difference. No matter how big or small the differences were, it is still a positive difference. I want to be a person who creates change for the better. If you want greater good, you have to be the good. The following paragraph includes the strategies I have been writing about that helped me this past year, and more specifically with writing the children’s story.

Not letting excuses get in my way, leaning on friends and family, listening (with my ears and heart), using a Growth Mindset for myself and others, taking risks, not allowing negativity in other areas of my life get me down, keeping my working materials ready and available, visualizing, deep breaths, meditating, using everyday bravery, focusing on the positives, taking time to be creative, being mindful, being thankful, not giving up, and of course, blogging.

I am grateful that I had this opportunity to focus on this project. I am thankful to the teachers and children who welcomed me into their classroom, listened to my story and created their “Happy Rings”. The pure joy I feel teaching in itself is rewarding. Seeing those sweet faces and bright smiles! Admiring the teachers who work diligently to create a loving, supportive, and comfortable environment for each of their amazing students to then be open to new learning.  Wow! The only thing that made this experience truly amazing for me was sharing my ideas and teaching about my FAVORITE subject, HAPPINESS! Wow! Wow!

These have been some of my actions. I would LOVE to hear about yours, big or small! You can comment below or e-mail me to share your information privately.

This has been the perfect way to conclude my first year of blogging.  Today is the one year date of my very first post “Lead By Example”. Thank all of you for reading “My Happy,  Creating Your Happy” and giving me positive feedback. Thank you to WordPress for designing a user-friendly site and for sending me this congratulations for “My Happy’s” 1st anniversary! I look forward to expanding my blog with a page for kids!

Achievement

1 Year Anniversary Achievement
Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com one year ago!
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“My Happy” Behind the Scenes

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AnniversaryWow! I can’t believe I am approaching the 1st anniversary of “My HappyCreating Your Happy. I knew this blog would be important to me, I didn’t realize how much. Whenever I faced any difficult time this past year, I would think back to everything I wrote and encouraged my readers to be, try, or learn. Instead of letting my old (negative) ways take over, I would try to stick to positive strategies and use a Growth Mindset for myself.  I will admit, I still have a long way to go. Keep practicing, right?   I do know that this past year of learning and blogging has had a great impact in my life. It has kept me true to myself and my family. It has helped me to be a more mindful parent and friend. It has also kept me focused on my goals and I have been able to follow through with ideas.  I truly appreciate the support and feedback I have gotten from you all. It’s my hope that I have written at least one thing that has brought some positive information to you.

Although I have not been posting regularly, I have been working behind the scenes of “My Happy”. I have been finding terrific information that is connected to what I write about. Whenever I find something I think you might be interested in, I “tweet” it and it appears in my twitter feed. One of my favorite recent re-tweets was Kindergarteners Talk About Mindfulness in ‘Just Breathe’ Short Film | Mindful. You can also follow me on Twitter and then I may be able to follow you. 🙂

I am customizing my blog, with the blog stats in mind. There have been many views of my Happiness Page. Sometimes, more often than not, the only page viewed. I decided to add to this page. It now includes a video of Sonja Lyubomirsky: The Benefits of Happiness. I viewed this video as part of the “Science of Happiness” course offered by University of California, Berkeley. Check it out!  I am currently taking this course and I will be sharing information as I progress.

I have also had professional pictures taken to share on “My Happy”, a very special thank you to Danielle for taking time out of her busy schedule to finally steer me clear of my selfies.  😉 She was amazingly calm, focused, kind, and patient (my children were being very silly).  I look forward to seeing more of Danielle Vicotoria Photography! Works of art!

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I have also been working on a happy project which Page four - CopyI will be sharing in my younger children’s classroom soon! My aim is to share it on my Kids’ Page as well.  I’m keeping my Growth Mindset, learning, taking risks, staying positive, asking for help, and not giving up.

Looking forward to this next year ofMy Happy” Creating Your Happy with all of you! Thanks for reading!

Here’s My Mix!

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calendar - Copy - Copy“My Happy” began as a place for me to organize helpful information that has become an important part of my life. My experiences have led me to appreciate all that brings positivity my way. I strive to share the things that have made a significant difference to me and my family. This post will explain my (always evolving) positive strategies I use with my family. You may see other strategies I have posted previously on the Parent/Caregivers Page.

Strategies may change as my children get older, I learn new information, or if the strategies stop working. There are various ways to help support children. I began as a teacher, searching for the best behavior management practices for my class. As a parent, I continued to learn as many different approaches that I could. The important realizations for me were:  being mindful, keeping a balance, practicing, and being  flexible.  Not one approach works best, it is using a mix of them that really makes the difference. Also, knowing when to be flexible by changing or dropping something that isn’t working.  Here is what is in my “mix”!

Mindful to create a positive, caring, loving and supportive environment:

Lots of hugs, kisses, and a growth mindset….. goes without saying 😉

Family Mission Statement was my latest way to give our family an idea of what is expected and appreciated in our family.  I decided to do this after learning more about Emotional Intelligence.  It is similar to the “family rules” I have previously posted; however it is more about what we want to focus on daily.  Together, we discussed what mission statements are and then decided what we wanted it to look like. Our family decided on the following:

 

Family Mission Statement

  •  Look for “happy” (positives)
  • Kind and caring
  • Be a helper
  • Have “everyday bravery”
  • Be thankful
  • Be a problem solver
  • Try your best

“Happy, Healthy, Strong”

 

We read it out loud once a day and display it where everyone can see it. I used a bullet format to make it easier for my children to understand. Older children could decide whether they want it to read like an actual statement. We also ended it with what has turned into our family “cheer”, happy, healthy, strong. This began as an affirmation I wanted to share with my children and they like saying it so much, we use it all the time.

“Everyday Bravery” was taken from the work of Rachel Simmons.  Rachel Simmons explains that it is not just heroes in movies who are brave, we are brave every day. Children may see being brave as: going to school and rising to challenges there, beginning a new anything, maybe even trying a new food. knowing they can tackle these smaller challenges will help them to become braver and braver, more able to tackle whatever new challenges come their way.

http://www.rachelsimmons.com

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Positive Rewards

I have used reward charts, stickers, homework passes, lunch with teacher, and more. I find this works well to recognize good behavior or to motivate learning something new, such as potty training. Rewarding in this way is effective for a specific period of time. Another example would be earning stickers for 7 days in a row to receive the privilege of picking the movie for movie night.  These rewards also worked well with students because it was only be for one school year. When you are a parent or caregiver, these positive reinforcements do not always stay effective. Reward charts are available free online. Instead of stickers, kids can color the squares in.

Earning privileges

Instead of punishing by taking away a toy or activity, we remind the kids that they earn their privileges by being a cooperative part of the family. Paying attention to the family mission statement (or rules), doing chores, homework, and being responsible. We usually say that they are earning their privileges for the next day.

Choices

I give my children choices when I can. They have learned that they can’t always have a choice. It helps them to be more flexible.

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Calendar

We keep a monthly calendar to help the kids see the “big picture”. This helps our family stay on track as far as our weekly activities and it is a great way to help each member of the family see that everyone is getting choice time.  My older son was constantly saying  our weekend activities revolved around what his younger siblings wanted to do, not what he wanted to do. Having a calendar with weekend plans helped him to see the “big picture” and that he was getting his choice, too. We also color code the kids’ choices to make it easy for them to see their “picks”.

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Chore Chart

This has helped my older son keep track of all his responsibilities. I found a white board at Target that has the chart on it. My son filled in the chores, which he liked. He also likes checking things off when he’s done with each chore. He feels proud to see all those  checks at the end of the week. (This is also how he earns his allowance.)

Affirmations

“Happy, Healthy, Strong”    I sometimes request this at some point during the day. We have been saying it for so long my children usually bring it up before me, now.

“Safe, Cooperative, Kind, and Friendly”    I began this when my  younger children were 2 and 1/2 years old. I would ask them to say it before we got out of the car. It helped them to stay safe when we were out and about. Now, it reminds them that these expectations are always important wherever we are going.

Deep Breaths

We practice this daily to calm or focus. After practicing this daily, it has become more natural for them to do.  I knew this was working when my children began reminding me to take a deep breath when they saw I needed to. 🙂 Which usually makes me laugh, leading me to my next strategy.

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Humor

Whenever possible! Silly dances, mistakes on purpose, jokes….

(This is not to say my family and I are doing all of the above perfectly, but we are making good efforts! )

What’s in your “mix”?

I would love to hear from you! Please leave me a comment or e-mail me.

Have Fun, Learn, and Grow

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I recently watched a speaker explain that sometimes we don’t follow through with ideas because they seem too “easy”.  That is how I feel about my blog. I am simply a messenger posting what is all around us.  It is my way of doing the work for my readers by organizing important information which can improve lives. This is my fun, learning and growth. I have been posting about ways to feel happier (according to the latest research) and retweeting real life examples of the information I share. I would like my readers to find the information easy to understand and use in their lives, because that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

The following video explains the difference between having a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.  Carol Dweck (Stanford University psychologist), Christine Carter (sociologist, happiness expert, author) and Kelly Corrigan (author, speaker) discuss mindset and motivation.

To learn more please visit their websites at:

http://www.mindsetonline.com

http://www.christinecarter.com

http://www.kellycorrigan.com

 

 

 

 

 

Social and Emotional Learning

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This video, 5 Keys to Social-Emotional Learning Success, was shared from Edutopia’s YouTube channel. I thought this video would be helpful in understanding SEL.

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is happening in the U.S.,  China, the UK, and Singapore! Some of my friends get excited about new technology, some get excited about new fashion trends, others get excited about the latest music…I get excited about social-emotional learning!!!

Validated by research, social-emotional learning is shown to enhance academic success as it actually reduces stress levels in that pursuit. It prevents negative behaviors and gives students the “soft skills” they will need to flourish in today’s work environments.  It also promotes positive relationships and attitudes about school, and in general.

Studies with toddlers show that we really are “born to be good”.  In his book Born to Be Good, UC Berkeley professor (and Greater Good Science Center Director) Dacher Keltner discusses our natural tendency to be good.  Keltner makes the case based on research in psychology, sociology, and neuroscience that we are also wired for good. More specifically, he looks at the science of emotions and how positive emotions such as compassion and awe are contagious—and help to bring out the good not only in ourselves, but in others as well. (Taken from:  Social-Emotional Learning: Why Now?  by: Vicki Zakrzewski Ph.D.)

SEL cultivates our self-awareness.  Focusing on understanding our emotions, positive and negative, to help us navigate the classroom, workplace, our relationships and the decisions we make in life.

Again (if you are a regular here at “My Happy”), positive emotions such as gratitude, tranquility, love and joy expand our hearts and minds which helps us to share and connect with the people in our lives and increase our learning potential. Also, as I have previously mentioned, there are times everyone experiences negative emotions and difficult experiences, however, our children will be better equipped to handle those times with this kind of learning.

I have created an SEL page where I have taken information from various sources to explain what SEL is and why it should be a priority in our homes, schools and communities. I also included websites where you can find more information. Take a look at the Social and Emotional Learning Page to learn more about it. 

 

I would love to hear about what you think! You can write a comment or e-mail me at tiffanylynne_14@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

Got Emotional Intelligence?

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EIMy family and I practice our EI skills regularly.  This is something I encourage you to take time for. Please be sure to do a “self-check” before your try to teach it to your kids or the people in your life. Expecting your children to learn and use these skills only works if you “Lead By Example”.  We are role models to everyone around us.  Trying to improve and strengthen your emotional intelligence will help your children or the people you are closest to.  The following is practical information to begin learning and strengthening your Emotional Intelligence.

 

“Emotional Intelligence is the set of abilities that helps us get along in life with other people in all kinds of situations.”  ~Maurice H. Elias, Ph.D.    Rutgers University

Emotional intelligence is a wide range of skills that children (and adults) can develop and improve.  Developing and improving these skills are critical for emotional well-being and life success.

The following are social and emotional skills to focus on:

  • happiness and optimism
  • self-regard (self-compassion)
  • emotional self-awareness
  • assertiveness
  • independence
  • self-actualization
  • empathy
  • social responsibility
  • interpersonal relationship
  • flexibility
  • problem solving
  • stress tolerance
  • impulse control
  • conflict resolution

Please note, happiness and optimism are at the top of this list.  It is my opinion that they should be.  If we focus on happiness and optimism we will be strengthening many of the other skills on this list. “My Happy” is full of ideas to strengthen your happiness and optimism.  Many of my posts discuss self-awareness. We need to be aware of our thoughts and realize we can control them and choose to be positive. Using positive thinking can improve other skills.  Take flexibility for instance. I realized that I have difficulty with this at times. In fact, I can really get annoyed  when plans change at the last-minute.  My initial reaction was to become upset and react negatively (grumpiness, I know, hard to believe..ha ha).  After realizing I did this, I had more control over it. Now when something happens that forces me to be flexible (when I don’t want to) I still may initially react negatively, but I can usually catch myself and change my attitude. 🙂 My improvement happened as a result of  practicing positive thinking which contributed to my being a more flexible thinker.

Learning and improving these skills is important for everyone. Not only does it improve your social and emotional well-being, it leads to a more successful life.  This is a topic that I have wanted to share with others, especially caregivers because I know the value of these skills for children. Not only does it help children do well socially and emotionally, it increases learning potential.

As I continued my research in this area, I found CASEL. The Collaborative for Social and Emotional Learning, based at the University of Illinois at Chicago, seeks to enhance children’s success in school and life by promoting evidence-based social, emotional, and academic learning as an essential part of education from preschool through high school. I am looking forward to someday having SEL in schools world-wide.  Website: http://www.casel.org or check them out in my twitter feed!

Books to read:

EI Goleman         EI parenting

more to come…..

 

 

What Are You Focusing On In 2015?

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IMG_20150105_144042894 Journal given to me from my positive friend, Danielle

 

 

 

Focus, or “directed attention” has been life changing for me. When I first read about an exercise to understand the power of our mind’s focus, I did not realize what an impact this would have for me.  I was reading about focusing thoughts. The writer asked the reader to think of the color red and notice how suddenly you would see red everywhere.  It was a cold winter day and I was reading in the pick up line at my son’s school.  I thought to myself, how funny, this won’t work with everything so white with snow. Driving home I noticed a red car, red door, another red car, red lights, and so on. Some of you may laugh and think, well that’s really not that unpredictable. Next, the writer suggests thinking about something bigger. I chose something that I wanted to have to help me exercise, but I didn’t want to spend the money for it. This took longer. I thought about it daily for weeks. One day I happen to find what I wanted and it was free for the taking (used, of course). This got my attention and I decided to keep an open mind as I read more about the importance of our focus.

It’s rather simple if you think about it. Focus on positives and you will not only feel better, but you will open your eyes to let in more positives than you saw before.  I always thought of myself as making efforts to see the “glass half full” but, what I realized is that it is more than that. It is taking the time to really notice all the wonderful happenings or things around you that fill your world with positivity.  If you focus on negatives, you may only see the negative and miss other positives that are happening all around you.

Researcher, Richard Wiseman, conducted studies to understand why some people seemed luckier than others. He asked volunteers to read through a newspaper and count how many photos were in it. There were two groups of people: people who claimed to be lucky and people who felt they were unlucky. The lucky people were quicker to know the number of pictures than the unlucky people in this task. On the second page of the paper there was a large message reading “Stop counting, there are 43 photos in this newspaper.” It seems the people who felt unlucky missed the message. The people who felt lucky saw it.  This study and others like it show that people who focus on the positives are more optimistic. Optimism leads to being more observant of positive opportunities. People who don’t feel lucky (or who do not seek out positives) may miss out on positive things all around them.

“My Happy” is one way for me to stay focused on the positives. What better way to organize information for myself and others to benefit from? I didn’t realize all the other wonderful things that would come from this happiness blog.

I have friends and family who supported me by reading or following this blog. Besides that apparent support, I had many opportunities for wonderful conversations about things I was writing about. I realized my friends and family shared my interests. Some examples of focusing on the positives leading to increased positivity for me were:  receiving a daily positive quote book, learning about twitter, receiving current information to add to my blog, sharing of a book  “14,000 Things to be Happy About”,  receiving a journal to help me organize all my ideas. One of my favorite results was when my older son told me he thinks my blog is “cool”!( If you are a parent, you know how amazing THAT is) Staying focused on the positives and opening up about it has led to these experiences and more for me. These may sound like small things, but aren’t the small daily connections we make so important?

My positive friend Lois, who encouraged my idea to blog and guided me to WordPress, led me to a community of bloggers which I have received support and encouragement from. It has also given me the opportunity to learn from their blogs and gain new perspectives from all over the world!

I hope you are excited about practicing this simple strategy of directing your attention to the positivity around you, if you don’t already, in 2015! May your focus on positivity lead to more positivity!

Below is the 2nd “Happy Discovery” (previous post) for grown ups.  My positive friend, Margit, shared this book with me. I loved reading about this writer, Barbara Ann Kipfer. She started her happiness journal in 6th grade! Reading through this book really puts a smile on your face. 🙂

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Barbara Ann Kipfer also has a website http://www.thingstobehappyabout.com

A very special thank you to Patricia and Dan for staying so positive when my family can be a handful, awesome, but a handful.

To my friend Kim for staying positive through a tough situation, you inspire me!

 

Here’s To A Happy New Year! (Are you with me?)

“Cloud of Love” Gift of Love

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Are you looking for a special gift for someone you love? “Cloud of Love” is something I did with my kids for birthday gifts in our family. I thought you might like the idea for the holidays. For those of you who might not know, Clouds are groups of words showing categories viewed on blogs, websites, and other social media. This “Cloud” though, is created of reasons why you love your special someone.

The title of the “Cloud” can include the person’s age. For example, 60 Reasons We Love Mimi.  I chose to use the person’s age to determine how many reasons are used. You can choose to do the same or another number that is meaningful to you.  List reasons using different sizes, colors, even fonts, if you are computer savvy or simply use paper with crayons, markers, or pens.

Once you have created your cloud, it could be framed or placed in the front of a photo album (They still make these, right?). You could also include pictures of the person with you or your children. I have given a partial example below. (There are not 60 reasons in the example. It gives you the idea, though.)  I also included it as a document link. I think you could use it as a template, please let me know if you try it. 🙂

https://myhappydotme.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/60-reasons-we-love-mimi2.docx

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