Compliments of Rising Star Education, below you will find an loads of Social Emotional Learning and Character Education classroom activities and suggested reading material you can use with your students! The below are select materials from the Emmy Award-winning 21-Volume Auto-B-Good video series covering over 50 Character Traits. For more information on the Auto-B-Good videos series, please click the image below:

auto-b-good video series

Or watch the sample video clip below:

All material on this page is © Rising Star Education.




Stand in the face of danger for right…bravery isn’t about thrills at all.

Classroom Activities:

  1. Write a story about a cat that was afraid of everything … even its own shadow. Be sure to write about how it was able to overcome one of its biggest fears.
  2. Pair and share about your bravest moment in your life. Explain why it was your bravest moment and what helped make you brave.
  3. Have every student write down their top 5 fears. Then compare notes and see what the number one fear was. Discuss why you think it is the number one fear and why it is so hard to overcome it.
  4. This week at home, do a bravery project of your own. Interview some people about the bravest thing they have ever seen or done personally, and record it on video. Then show all of the videos in class and talk about them.

These books are excellent examples of bravery:

  1. Nannie Kuiper, Bravo, Brave Beavers!
  2. Bernard Waber, Courage
  3. Bill Peet, Cowardly Clyde
  4. Ann Grifalconi, The Bravest Flute
  5. Robert Kraus, Noel the Coward


Keep your promises and follow-through…stay committed, practice, and follow-through – to be your best.

Classroom Activities:

  1. Have you faced challenges similar to those Cali faced? If so explain how you overcame those challenges and if not how you would overcome them if you experienced them.
  2. Discuss with a partner how friends can either encourage or discourage you from being successful. How do you handle discouraging comments?
  3. Cali was able to develop her talent because she was committed and created a plan to improve. Take some time and create your own plan on how to develop a talent. Consider the challenges on staying committed to the task.
  4. Interview someone in your family about how they stayed committed to develop a special talent or skill. Ask them to tell you about the challenges they faced, and how they overcame them.

The following are great examples of commitment:

  1. Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, Ballots for Belva: The True Story of a Women’s Race for the Presidency
  2. Emily Arnold McCully, Mouse Practice
  3. Betty Hicks, Goof-off Goalie
  4. Margery Cuyler, Hooray for Reading Day
  5. Amy Young, Belinda Begins Ballet


You can rely on it occuring.

Classroom Activities:

  1. Being dependable is often what commercials try to tell us their products are. Brainstorm a list of ways in which students can show they are dependable. Plan and act out a TV or radio commercial advertising how the students in your class can be dependable.
  2. When talking about dependability, we use other words like trust, count on and rely on. What happens when we can’t depend on others to do what we trust them to do? What would happen if we didn’t have dependable people in our community?
  3. Think of an important job you do around the house or at school: mowing the lawn, baby-sitting, delivering newspapers, or even washing cars. Make a flyer that would advertise your job, and describe in a clear way how dependable you are.
  4. For one week keep a daily record of all your responsibilities at home or at school. Include social commitments, homework, household chores, everything. Make sure you are listing things that others depend on you to do. At the end of the week, give yourself a grade on how dependable you were, or in other words, how well you did in carrying out your responsibilities.

The books are wonderful stories about dependability:

  1. Olive Blake, Mystery of the Lost Letter
  2. Margaret Mahy, The Seven Chinese Brothers
  3. Richard Scarry, Richard Scarry’s Busiest People Ever
  4. Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, Taking Care of Melvin
  5. Dennis Smith, Little Fire Engine That Saved the City


Be resolved to make your dreams reality…be determined, you can do it!

Classroom Activities:

  1. Work in small groups to build the tallest tower out of toothpicks and marshmallows. Be determined and work hard to make your team’s tower higher than 3 feet tall. Keep trying until you get it.
  2. Research what you think would be an ideal job listing in the newspaper or online classifieds. Write a list of the things you think you need to get the job. Then pretend to interview with your teacher … if you don’t get it in the first try, don’t worry. Try to figure out what you are missing and try again.
  3. This week, set a personal goal you’d like to achieve (i.e. getting all your schoolwork done, making three new friends.) Then be determined to follow-through and make it happen. Once you’ve achieved success, nothing is stopping you from achieving other personal goals.

These books are wonderful stories about determination:

  1.  Frances and Ginger Park, The Royal Bee
  2. Barbara Barber, Allie’s Basketball Dream
  3. Caroline Repchuk, The Race
  4. Miriam Cohen, When Will I Read?
  5. Eve Bunting and Greg Shed, Dandelions

Discovering Talent

Uncover and celebrate your special gift…look hard, you might discover a new talent!

Classroom Activities:

  1. Ask the students to write about someone they know and describe their talent and what they can learn about developing their own talent.
  2. One of the keys to discovering talent is finding activities that are enjoyable and fun to do. Have a group discussion where students share activities they enjoy and then see if the other students can identify a special talent that is not immediately apparent to the person who shared.
  3. At the end, we see Cali being offered a chance to participate in the state championship. Direct the students to take some time to share as a class what Cali needs to do to follow-through or develop her talent. As a class, have the students come up with a plan for Cali. (Note – The teacher can use this as a way to foreshadow the second part of the story.)
  4. Discovering a talent can be challenging. It takes hard work and dedication as well as practice. Brainstorm some of your own talents and how you could share them with others. Find an  opportunity to share this talent with someone at home.

The following are great stories about discovering talent:

  1. David Wiesner, Tuesday
  2. David Lubar, Hidden Talents
  3. Noel Streatfeild, Ballet Shoes
  4. Carmella D’Amico, Ella Sets the Stage
  5. Jennifer L. Holm, Skater Girl: Babymouse Series
  6. Karma Wilson, Hilda Must Be Dancing


Overcome your resentment; pardon others.

Classroom Activities:

  1. The teacher will discuss with the class the importance of forgiveness. Ask the students to include in the discussion the challenges and the results of forgiving someone.
  2. Ask the students to come up with their own definition of forgiveness. Instruct the students to form groups of three or four and discuss their definitions. After the discussion, the teacher will bring the class together to come up with a single definition.
  3. The teacher will challenge the class to practice forgiveness for others’ wrongs for the next week. At the end of the week, have the students share their experiences. Make sure the students include the difficulties they experienced in forgiving others.
  4. In this episode, Marley forgave the cars. Instruct the students to create their own story of forgiveness using the concepts from the story in their written work.

The following are great examples of forgiveness:

  1. Cynthia A. Kingel, Forgiveness
  2. Kevin Henkes, Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse
  3. Wendy Mass, 11 Birthdays
  4. Patricia Polacco, My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother
  5. Joyce Sidman, This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness
  6. Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Shiloh Season


Real heroes have the courage to help regardless of recognition.

Classroom Activities:

  1. Ask the students to discuss the heroes in their life. Then, ask the students to share what makes those individuals heroes? Instruct the students to write about someone in their life who is a hero.
  2. Generate a discussion with the students on the differences between heroes in movies or television and the ones that are real heroes. Have the students pair up to discuss these differences, and then bring the class back together to discuss the topic again.
  3. Direct the students to go home and interview an adult on what they believe makes a person a real hero. Ask the students to be prepared to discuss their findings in class the next day.
  4. To be a true hero, one must help others even if it means putting one’s own safety at risk. Choose someone famous you consider a hero, and compare them to someone in your own life. Make a chart and compare what makes a real hero to what is just an illusion (fake hero).

Here are some great examples of being heroic::

  1. Ian Falconer, Olivia Saves the Circus
  2. Maria Kalman, Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey
  3. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Robert Smalls: The Boat Thief
  4. Jack London, The Call of the Wild
  5. Candlewick, Hero’s Quest
  6. Anna Harwell-Celenza, JoAnn E. Kitchel, The Heroic Symphony
  7. E. L. Konigsburg, Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World


Classroom Activities:

  1. Brainstorm a list of the things that should be kept clean. Then try to explain why it is important to keep each of them clean.
  2. Try a little experiment for the next few weeks. Leave an open lunchbox with some unwrapped food in it in a corner of the classroom and watch what happens…  At the end of the experiment discuss the effects of bacteria and why keeping clean is important.
  3. Ask the school nurse to come to your class and explain the effects of good and bod hygiene.

These books are wonderful stories about hygiene:

  1. Dav Pilkey, Dog Breath
  2. Mark Teague, Pigsty
  3. Greg Williamson, How Do I Cure This Cold?
  4. Phyllis Krasilovsky, The Man Who Didn’t Wash His Dishes
  5. Brock Cole, No More Baths


Use your imagination everyday, the possibilities are endless…Imagination is like the universe; limitless.

Classroom Activities:

  1. Ask the students to consider some famous inventors of the past like Thomas Edison, George Washington Carver, Benjamin Franklin etc. and discuss how their inventions have changed our lives. Ask the students to discuss what life would be like without these great inventors and their inventions.
  2. Challenge the students to conduct their own imagination fair. Have the students break into small groups of three or four. Ask the students to think about a problem they have experienced at home, school, or somewhere else. Then, ask the students to sketch out an invention or write down an inventive idea that would help solve this problem.
  3. Instruct the students to carry on a discussion about how imagination has been the source of many activities they enjoy today. Have them break into small groups. Assign each group an activity such as computer games, extreme sports, television, animation, etc. and have the students discuss in
    their groups the changes these activities have gone through.
  4. EJ wished he could fly. Is there something you wish you could do? Create a character with a special power. Make your own comic book using the character you created. Share your comic book with someone at home. They might even have some of their own ideas to add to yours.

These books are some wonderful stories about imaginative:

  1. Patricia Polacco, Applemando’s Dreams
  2. Kimberly Zarins, Playful Bunny
  3. Rozanne Lanczak Williams, The Purple Snerd
  4. Lindsey Gardiner, Here Comes Poppy and Max
  5. Cruickshank, Don’t Dawdle Dorothy


Be morally sound and above board…know what is right and do what is right.

Classroom Activities:

  1. Write the story of someone you admire because of their integrity. Be sure to explain why you admire them.
  2. Someone once said, “Integrity is doing the right thing; even if nobody is watching.” Do a heart-check, by honestly answering some integrity questions such as: What would you do if you found a wallet full of cash?Would you be willing to tell the truth even if it meant you’d get in trouble and why? – How does your own integrity compare to this quote?
  3. Ask a trusted adult (someone like a parent, teacher, religious leader or police officer} about their thoughts on integrity and whether or not they think it is important to have. Be sure to ask them what tips they have for living a life of integrity.

The following books are wonderful examples of integrity:

  1. Chad and Carrie Mason, Sippi: The Canine with Character
  2. Arden Martenz, Ocho: A Character Education Story
  3. Eve Bunting, A Days Work
  4. Kay Chorao, Molly’s Lies
  5. Dr. Seuss, I Can Lick 30 Tigers Today


It is important to follow the rules and laws.

Classroom Activities:

  1. Brainstorm with your class as to what would happen if there really were a “no rules allowed” club. Write a story with two unique consequences of no rules.
  2. Discuss the meaning of the following quote from our 30th president, Calvin Coolidge. Perhaps students could illustrate the meaning on a poster. He said, “I sometimes wish people would put a little more emphasis upon following the law than they do upon its enforcement.” How might you write the quote in your own words?
  3. Organize a “Safety Day” at your school. Create a list of activities and topics of safety, like baby-sitting, biking, swimming and water safety, etc. Invite your own “Officer Friendly” from the local police department to speak to classes about the importance of rules.
  4. The Wrong Recipe – Make two small batches of cookies from a recipe. Make the first one using the ingredients, but not in the specified amounts (e.g., exchange salt for sugar). Feel free to skip some all together-after all, we’re making cookies-who needs a recipe? Make the second batch following the recipe to the “T.” Bake both batches and compare. Follow-up discussion: (take turns answering each question)
    1. Which cookies did you like better?
    2. Why does it matter to follow the recipe?
    3. What other “recipes” do you try to ignore?
    4. My favorite rule is …

The are great titles about obedience:

  1. Barbara Cohen, Molly’s Pilgrim
  2. Jean Frtiz, The Cabin Faced West
  3. Maggie Rugg Herold, A Very Important Day
  4. Exra Jack Keats, (John Henry) An American Legend
  5. C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe


Live in harmony with those around you.

Classroom Activities:

  1. Instruct the students to look through the newspaper or on TV for examples of peacefulness. Ask the students about the kinds of feelings connected to peacefulness.
  2. Direct the students to create a list of ways they can show examples of peace. Make sure the students are specific.
  3. At recess ask the students to spend some time looking at other classes. Then ask them to consider how the other classes are showing peacefulness?
  4. The teacher will discuss with the class how acting peaceful can strengthen a friendship. Make sure the students include in the discussion the ways they can show peacefulness to their friends and others.
  5. Think of someone you know who is peaceful. Interview them on how they choose to handle situations peacefully. Make sure to include in the interview challenges they had to face as well.

The following are great titles about peacefulness:

  1. Warren Hanson, The Next Place
  2. Munro Leaf, The Story of Ferdinand
  3. Todd Parr, Peace Book
  4. Nancy Yi Fan, Swordbird
  5. Rebecca Ollen, Peacefulness


Always show good manners to everyone.

Classroom Activities:

  1. Take some time with your class and discuss the following quotes. Write about what they mean to you.
    1. “There are two types of people – those who come into a room and say, ‘Well, here I am!’ and those who come and say, ‘Ah, there you are.”‘ ~Frederick Collins
    2. “Anyone can be polite to a king. It takes a gentleman to be polite to a beggar.” ~Unknown
  2. Many items that are purchased have an owner’s manual. Develop a good student “owner’s manual” listing ways to be polite during special performances like plays, recitals, assemblies and programs. Post this in your classroom.
  3. Musical Manners – Write down polite keywords on index cards such as, “please,” “thank you,” “may I,” and “excuse me.” Be sure to have enough for each classmate or member of your family. Start some music and begin passing the cards face down to the person to the right of you. When the music stops, the person who slopped the music has 30 seconds to use the keyword in a sentence. The next person begins the music and play continues as before until everyone has gone at least once. Follow-up discussion: (take turns answering each question)
    1. Who had the funniest sentence? The most polite?
    2. Why is it important to be polite?
    3. How does it make you feel when someone is polite with you? When is it easiest for you to be polite?

The following books are great resources about politeness:

  1. Laura Alden, Saying I’m Sorry
  2. June Behrens, The Manners Book, What’s Right, Ned?
  3. Stan and Jan Berenstain, The Berenstain Bears Forgot Their Manners
  4. Joy Wilt Berry, Let’s Talk About Being Rude
  5. Jane Belk Moncure, Saying Please


On time, quickly, and at my best.

Classroom Activities:

  1. Imagine you were just given a vacation at a resort for this weekend. How would you assure you arrived prepared?
  2. Write a poem about a boy or girl who was always on time but never prepared.
  3. Draw a picture of the float you might build that would represent your classroom.
  4. Divide your class into four groups. Have each group draw a picture of five (5) people who are about to go on a boat ride and fishing outing – all had to rush and only one is on time and totally prepared lo board the boat and enjoy the day.

The following books are great examples of being Punctual, Prompt, and Ready:

  1. Stan and Jan Berenstain, The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Pressure
  2. John Burningham, (John Patrick Norman McHennessy) The Boy Who Was Always Late
  3. Priscilla & Otto Friedrich, The Easter Bunny that Overslept
  4. Bill Grossman, The Guy Who Was Five Minutes Late
  5. Russell Hoban, Bedtime for Frances
  6. Syd Hoff, Henrietta, the Early Bird
  7. Pat Hutchins, Clocks and More Clocks
  8. Phyllis Krasilovsky and Marcia Sewall, The Man Who Tried to Save Time


Being there at the right time.

Classroom Activities:

  1. Divide the class into groups of four. Using newspapers and magazines, have each group make a poster showing examples of situations where it is very important to be punctual. You may want to find a variety of schedules and timetables.
  2. Discuss strategies you could do to help someone who struggles with being punctual. How could you help them be on time?
  3. What do you think the following French proverb means? “People count up the faults of those who keep them waiting.” How could you write it in a way that kids would better understand it?
  4. Write a story about a person who had to rush because she didn’t plan ahead and was not punctual. Add details about the problems she had by rushing. Make it funny!

The following books are great examples of being Punctual, Prompt, and Ready:

  1. Stan and Jan Berenstain, The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Pressure
  2. John Burningham, (John Patrick Norman McHennessy) The Boy Who Was Always Late
  3. Priscilla & Otto Friedrich, The Easter Bunny that Overslept
  4. Bill Grossman, The Guy Who Was Five Minutes Late
  5. Russell Hoban, Bedtime for Frances
  6. Syd Hoff, Henrietta, the Early Bird
  7. Pat Hutchins, Clocks and More Clocks
  8. Phyllis Krasilovsky and Marcia Sewall, The Man Who Tried to Save Time


In all ways preared for action.

Classroom Activities:

  1. The whole group did not realize they were “moving forward together” when they had to struggle with their problem. Discuss with your class how you can still learn a good lesson, even when it feels like you failed.
  2. Getting ready for school or starting your day is not an easy thing to do. Make a list of the many things you do to make sure you are prepared and on time to do your best. Make this into a checklist that could help you each day.
  3. Write a short story about a rocket ship taking off and a crew that is not ready to go.
  4. The name of their Roat for the big Grand Day Parade was “Moving Forward Toaether.” Divide your class into four groups.  Have each group design a Aoat using that same theme and organize a parade right in your school. Be sure you are able to show how important it is to be on time and ready to go as you develop your float concept. Consider inviting other classes to join you and have them design floats that would express the same theme.

The following books are great examples of being Punctual, Prompt, and Ready:

  1. Stan and Jan Berenstain, The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Pressure
  2. John Burningham, (John Patrick Norman McHennessy) The Boy Who Was Always Late
  3. Priscilla & Otto Friedrich, The Easter Bunny that Overslept
  4. Bill Grossman, The Guy Who Was Five Minutes Late
  5. Russell Hoban, Bedtime for Frances
  6. Syd Hoff, Henrietta, the Early Bird
  7. Pat Hutchins, Clocks and More Clocks
  8. Phyllis Krasilovsky and Marcia Sewall, The Man Who Tried to Save Time


Be disciplined to manage your impulses…learn the gift of self-control.

Classroom Activities:

  1. Work in small groups to create a commercial for willpower. Develop a slogan and determine the selling-points for what will make people want to buy it.
  2. Write your own short story about something that is hard to resist. What steps were taken to avoid the temptation? Share the story with your class.
  3. Invite a guidance counselor to come and talk about willpower and the discipline needed to have restraint. Set some realistic goals for the week and plan out the necessary steps needed to accomplish those goals.

The following books are wonderful examples of restraint:

  1. Julia Cook, My Mouth Is a Volcano
  2. Kathleen Szaj, Elizabeth, Who Is Not a Saint
  3. Marc Brown, Arthur’s Computer Disaster
  4. Mirra Ginsburg, The Strongest One Of All
  5. Aesop, The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg


Be happy with who you are in life and living…self-acceptance is the shortest route to happiness.

Classroom Activities:

  1. As a class, discuss how to have better self-acceptance. How important is affirmation?
  2. In the movie “The Sound of Music” there was a song that said, “these are a few of my favorite things … ” Sing the song if you know it. Share some of your own favorite things and discuss how they reveal something about how special you are.
  3. Write a poem about something uniquely you that makes you feel happy and satisfied in life.
  4. This week at home find a picture of you as a baby or small child (or just remember yourself from an early age). Go sit quietly by yourself and imagine that someone has given this young child to you. It’s now your child, you are the parent … of you! You already know a lot about this little person but what he or she really needs is for you to love, care for and accept them. Can you commit to doing this? Tell a parent, a teacher or a friend about this exercise and how you felt while doing it.

The following books are wonderful examples of self-acceptance:

  1. Carol McCloud, Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
  2. Marcus Pfister, The Happy Hedgehog
  3. Donna Jo Napoli, Albert
  4. Bill Peet, Buford the Little Bighorn
  5. Allia Zobel-Nolan, What I Like About Mel


You are in charge of choosing the right thing to do.

Classroom Activities:

  1. When we help and encourage each other with self-control, it makes the classroom a better place. Exactly how do we do that? Franklin gave Cali wisdom that she needed. Make a chart that lists several ways we can encourage each other to have self-control. Hang it on the wall in the classroom.
  2. Using magazines, advertisements from the Sunday paper, and even examples from pop-up ads on the Internet, discuss how they are trying to challenge our self-control. Are they telling us that we must buy their product? Use what you have learned from this episode to show self-control.
  3. Below are two quotes about self-control. Take some time at home or in class to discuss the meaning of these quotes and perhaps write them in your own words.
    1. “It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always.” ~Oprah Winfrey
    2. “Opportunity may knock only once, but temptation leans on the doorbell.” ~Author Unknown

These classic tales are excellent resources on self-control:

  1. Aesop, The Fox and the Crow
  2. Aesop, The Frogs at the Well
  3. Aesop, The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg
  4. Lou Ann Gaeddert, Noisy Nancy Norris
  5. Nan Gilbert, Champions Don’t Cry
  6. Mirra Ginsburg, The Strongest One of All

Slow To Judge

Form your opinions based on the facts. Be careful not to judge too quickly — know your facts.

Classroom Activities:

  1. Ask the students to take a few minutes to describe the differences between Marley, Igor and the others. Have the students create a story with the same concepts of differences between people, but use a setting around your school.
  2. Instruct the students to think of a time when they were quick to judge a situation without having all the facts and they found out their conclusions were wrong. Make sure the students include the consequences to their actions.
  3. Ask the students to brainstorm a list of ways the cars could have found more clues regarding the disappearance of the statue. Make sure the students consider the methods the cars used to find the clues in their list.
  4. Think about a time when you were blamed for something you didn’t do. Go home and ask how the other members of your family feel when they are blamed. Use your ideas to create a rap, poem or rhyme about the dangers of being too quick to judge someone.

The following books are excellent resources on being slow to judge:

  1. Norbu Tenzing, Himalaya
  2. David Grossman, Duel
  3. Dianna Wynne Jones, Witch Week
  4. Vashanti Rahaman, Divali Rose
  5. Dr. Seuss, Sneetches and Other Stories


The ability to do what is best instead of what you want to do…resolve to have the power over your will.

Classroom Activities:

  1. Break into small groups and discuss ways you could assist a friend to stay strong and not give into a temptation. Personalize it: how would you want help if you were the person struggling with a lack of willpower.
  2. Students today are bombarded with an unprecedented amount of marketing messages pulling at them to buy the latest and greatest. Brainstorm all the forms of these messages and the channels through which they come – perhaps do a little research on line to learn more about the great lengths advertisers and businesses go to sell their wares. Discuss what a student can do to overcome the urges to buy things or do things they don’t really need.
  3. Invite a state champion or prize winner to share their story with your class. Be sure they include how they accomplished their goal and what part willpower played in their success.

These books are excellent examples of willpower:

  1. Brian Wildsmith, The Owl & the Woodpecker
  2. John Bush & Korky Paul, The Fish Who Could Wish
  3. Eve Bunting, Riding the Tiger
  4. Aesop, The Fox and the Crow
  5. Arnold Lobel, Frog and Toad Together


Use all the knowledge, experience, and common sense you can…proper perspective sheds light on what matters most.

Classroom Activities:

  1. Discuss Albert Einstein’s quote, “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” Then have the students rewrite the quote in their own words.
  2. Have the students ask other teachers or trusted adults, “what is the greatest wisdom you’ve learned and how did you learn it?”
  3. Draw a picture of what a person who has gained wisdom looks like and explain what it means.
  4. Abraham Lincoln said, “I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” How is this quote true for you and what steps can you do to achieve greater wisdom everyday?

These books are wonderful stories about wisdom:

  1. Margaret MacDonald, Mabela the Clever
  2. Margaret Willey, Clever Beatrice
  3. Donald Crews, Shortcut
  4. Dr. Seuss, Hunches in Bunches
  5. C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian

This material is from the teaching guides
included with the 21-part video series Auto-B-Good

This material is from the teaching guides
included with the 21-part video series Auto-B-Good

auto-b-good video series

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