Monday, November 21, 2016

Guest Post: Olivia Van Ledtje (@thelivbits)



Today, we are thrilled to welcome Olivia Van Ledtje to A Year of Reading as a guest blogger. Liv is a lover of books, sharks, ballet, and all things Disney. You can visit Olivia at her Livbits Vimeo Channel or you can follow her on twitter (@thelivbits). We have learned so much from Olivia in the short time we've known her. She is fabulously brilliant (and fun!) and we think you'll probably want to share this blog post with colleagues and students.
#KeepReading!  #KeepThinking!

Have you ever thought about how powerful it feels to share your story with the world?

I’m Olivia, and I am a 4th grader in Durham, NH. I use Instagram and Twitter and have my own Vimeo channel to share my thinking about books and life with the world. I was inspired to start this from work my mom was doing with teachers called the Selfie Center.

Most people know what a selfie is. Lots of people probably don’t think about what a selfie tells. When you take a selfie and post it on social media, you are asking for feedback. You want people to like it, share it, or comment on it. It’s like the selfie is a chance to start a story and you hope that the story is one that people will like. Usually, no one wants to post a bad selfie.

The Selfie Center is about kids sharing their thinking by making short videos. It makes a single selfie into a video version just like a Harry Potter moving portrait. When I saw all the selfie videos my mom had from other kids, I begged her to let me try it. I saw a first grader’s selfie example and I was inspired. His name was Charlie and he made his selfies into the Charlie show. He would talk about his thinking, his teacher’s lessons, and his questions about his work. I wanted to try doing something like the Charlie show, so I started LivBits.

I use my LivBit videos to share my thinking with the world. They are a little bit of me, Liv and a little bit of my thinking, Bits. The fancy word for what I do is called metacognition. When you can talk about your thinking, you are thinking at a very deep level, and especially when you share your thinking to teach or inspire other people. I want kids to be inspired to read and think more. I love stories, I love thinking, I love talking, and I love sharing! Put that altogether and you have LivBits!

I think kids should be able to share their thinking with bigger audiences than just their classroom. It gives kids more ideas, more feedback, and more inspiration. Social media has helped me create my LivBit digital identity. Everything I post tells a little bit more about who I am and what I believe. Social media helps me tell my story. You can learn a lot about a person by what they post. I hope that my followers see how fun reading, thinking, and sharing can be! One of the best compliments I can get is when I meet a follower face to face and they say, “You are JUST like you are on your LivBits!” It’s really important that who you are online is who you really are in person. Your posts define who you are and are a mirror to the world.

I get my ideas for posting by thinking about my audience. I ask myself questions like: What will people want to learn from this book? What did the author hope to teach me? How can I share this message in an interesting way? Some of the best advice about life can come from characters in stories. And, when I read informational books, I think about what I might be able to teach my audience.

I think it’s really important to share my story, and I get a lot of really awesome feedback when I do. When you post on social media, you can hear from lots of people who can teach you things you didn’t think about. You can also be encouraged to keep going with your message and you can learn from their stories too. I’ve been lucky that my followers believe in the LivBit message.

A big part of my message is that kids can teach us. I use this hashtag a lot because it defines what my LivBit work is all about. Lots of times people think that only grown ups can be the teacher, but I think that you don’t really have to be a grown up to teach others. I can use my social media accounts to share important ideas I have. My followers can teach me, and I can teach them. It’s like a really awesome shared story when you post on social media. Lots of people don’t even think about how you tell a story through your posts.

If you look at people’s social media posts, you can usually see what they value, wish, and dream. If you look close enough you can probably see other information too. If you read their hashtags they tell a story. I always say my hashtags are like “my people.” What I mean is that my hashtags group me with other people on social media. When people comment or share my posts, they become part of my story. It’s really incredible when you see how one post can travel to so many places so quickly all over the world! One of my posts on Twitter was retweeted over 80 times by people in 22 different countries! Some of the countries were not places I had ever even thought about, but after we became part of each other’s story, I wanted to know more about those places.

Hashtags are also like the big ideas in your story. They let people see what your story is all about. They are like the shortened version of what is most important in your post. They give people lots of clues about what to pay attention to in your story. My mom always says that hashtags are the synthesis of your story so that means you have to choose them wisely if you want to share a message.

LivBits is a home project, but I would love it if my school would start to use the Selfie Center so more kids could have the chance to read, think, and share their ideas in a bigger way. Sometimes teachers are too scared to use technology or to have kids on social media, but I think we have to learn how to be safe from doing meaningful work.

LivBits has been the best project I have ever done in my whole entire life! I have teachers all over the world who follow me, give me feedback, and encourage me to do more thinking. My LivBit work started as a chance to grow my thinking, sharing, and reading, but it also grew my heart. I’ve learned how to be a good digital citizen from this work. One of my favorite authors, Peter Reynolds calls it connecting the dots. And, that’s exactly what being a digital citizen is – a connector of dots! You meet so many amazing people and you have the chance to learn and grow together. You connect to their ideas, you retweet, and comment, you share your thinking, and you grow.

Your posts are your story to the world. Make your story one that matters, not just to you, but to others. Connect your dots to places you never dreamed possible. Become a digital beam of light that connects in positive ways to others. Your story matters and deserves to be shared.

Keep reading! Keep thinking! And, keep watching LivBits for more ideas about your books and your world because #kidscanteachus!


18 comments:

  1. #yestheycananddo 3EV in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has watched some of Liv's Bits and we love them!

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    1. Hi Ms. Victor! It's me, Liv! Thank you SO MUCH for showing LivBits in Malaysia!!!! I am SO EXCITED to hear this and I added your country to my map of where LivBits have been used!!! Thank you so much!!!

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  2. I had the pleasure of being in a line for an author signing with Olivia at NCTE. I love this post and will be sharing it with my students next week. Thanks, Olivia. You are an inspiration!

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    1. Thank you so much Mrs. Simon! I had SO MUCH fun at NCTE!!! And I earned Pop Tarts!!! My favorite snack!!! Thank you for sharing LivBits with your students!!! That makes me so happy! #keepreading

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  3. This is SUCH a great blog post, Liv! I think kids and adults can all learn from it- many adults struggle to understand hashtags, how to connect and how to reach their audience. I am so proud of you- brilliant! #guardianshark #thelivbits #brilliantgirl #girlinspires #GoLivGo

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    1. Helen!!! You are my most important #digitaltribe member!!! Thank you for everything you do to #keepmesafe!!! But mostly thankyou for #believinginme!!! #sharkgirl 4ever

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  4. I love your LivBits and I hope you will make many more! You are right, kids can teach adults and adults can teach kids!

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    1. Thank you so much!!! I can't wait to make more!!! And this weekend I am meeting a VERY SPECIAL AUTHOR!!!!! And I can't wait to share that LivBit!!!! Thank you for watching my videos and for encouraging me!!!!

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  5. Wow! You make me almost want to make my own livbit.

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    1. I hope you make one!!! I will be your fan club and tweet it out! #keepreading #keepthinking #makeyourown #goodluck

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    1. Thank you Shark bait! That's a GREAT handle!!!!! #ilovesharks #sharkgirl

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  7. Thanks so much for writing this, kids can teach audults, as well as the other way around!

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    1. Thank you Olivia!!! #nametwin #bestnameever

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  8. It is very inspiring and could chang peoples perspective also it could make a chang in the world

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    1. The world needs kids to share their ideas!!! #bethechange #kidscanteachus #thankyou

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  9. This article was very inspiring. Your using social Media, and your using it the right way. I love how you say hashtags can tell a story!

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    1. Morgan!!! Your comment made me so HAPPY!!! I want to be a positive model to show that #kidscanteachus!!! #thankyouveryverymuch

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