Writing the Way at 826LA: Mrs. Shinkai Karzai shares her son Rashid K.’s excitement for writing at 826LA

Palms Elementary School educator Mrs. Shinkai Karzai has witnessed the excitement and creativity that happens at 826LA Field Trips as both a teacher and a mom. When her son Rashid, an 826LA published author in his own right, raved about his time at an 826LA Field Trip, she decided to bring her own fourth grade class to see what the 826 magic was all about. Together, the mother and son duo share their 826LA story.

“The BEST Field Trip ever!”

My son Rashid went on an 826LA Field Trip with his first grade teacher Ms. Temple last year. He came back home, and he was so excited. He said, “I went on the BEST field trip ever!” He could not stop talking about 826LA! And you know, a kid in first grade, he’s six years old, his favorite field trips are to the science center. But for him, this was his favorite field trip.

He loved his 826LA Field Trip story. He kept reading it over and over and over again to all our family members. And when anyone comes to our house, he grabs the Field Trip book and starts reading it to them. I’ve heard it so many times!

So when his class was scheduled to come on a Field Trip this year, he said, “I’m SO excited, Mommy. I cannot wait to go back to 826LA!” He has a little trouble waking up in the morning, but not on this day. He was up, ready to go. He said,”I do not want to be late for this Field Trip!”

“Usually he’s not that excited about writing, but he loves writing when he’s here at 826LA!”

A book that’s just too good to put down

Usually he’s not that excited about writing, but he loves writing when he’s here at 826LA! I don’t know what the magic is, but he loves being here, and he loves to write with all the people at 826LA.

The second grade teachers had decided not to let the kids take their Field Trips books home because they wanted to have a big reveal party. He cried. 

He said, “No, I have to take my book! I want to share it with my mom, my dad, and my brother.” And so after all the kids left, his teacher let him bring his book home. Right away he just started reading it to us over and over and over again. He said, “Don’t you love my ending?” And then we had to sneak the book back in the morning before the rest of the class saw it.

I love seeing Rashid’s smile and his enthusiasm for sharing what he accomplished with his classroom. Seeing his face and how excited he gets, even when he just hears the name “826LA”…I love knowing that my child had such a great time at 826LA writing. But I want to know what the formula is so I can get him excited about doing his writing homework!  

Whatever happened here with Rashid, it makes me really love 826LA. That’s why I decided to bring my fourth grade class to an 826LA Field Trip. Rashid was so happy, he said, “Oh my god, your students are going to love it! 826LA is the best!” Being a teacher, I try to expose my son to a lot of stuff, but still, this is his favorite place.

826LA Field Trips take the challenge out of teaching writing

It’s great seeing my students on an a Field Trip. I love that they get to share their ideas and have a whole day dedicated to just writing, because teaching writing seems to be an area of challenge for all of us teachers. But I love the approach that 826LA is taking.

I hope this 826LA Field Trip experience shows my students that writing is such a powerful way to express yourself. Whether you’re trying to write to get a point across, whether you’re trying to write to express how you feel about something, whether you’re writing to oppose something. That your writing can be your voice and a way to share your opinion with the world.

When you say things, yeah people listen, but they forget. When you write something, it’s forever.

“Being a teacher, I try to expose my son to a lot of stuff, but still, this is his favorite place.”

Do you think there are things about the 826LA writing labs that draw kids in?

The way 826LA binds the students’ stories, that’s definitely something I’ll take back and try with their published writings in the classroom. I think the idea of taking a book home with them is also so, so special and important.

The introduction of students having their author pictures taken even before they walk into the writing lab already makes the students feel really special. And the way the chairs are set up and the writing space draw students in.  I think the shared writing experience is really important and special. Usually in my class students work on their writing individually.

But you should really talk to my son. He’d talk your ear off about how much he loves writing at 826LA!”

So…that’s exactly what we did! Without further ado, here’s our interview with second grader and 826LA published author Rashid Karzai:

Do you remember what your first time at an 826LA Field Trip like?

The first time I came to 826LA was in first grade. I felt very new to this place, and I didn’t really know whether I was gonna like it or not, because I didn’t like writing. But the answer turned out to be I liked it! The story we wrote was “Sara Lily and Flippy  in the Adventure of the Missing Beads” about a girl named Sarah Lilly who has a friend named Flippy who has a pet named Annie. And Sarah Lilly lives on a planet called Planet Friendship, and she had special beads to make friendship bracelets. And the next time I came to 826LA, I was really excited! I also like all the people at 826LA. They help you write the books. Plus they’re nice, and they never yell at you.

What was your favorite part about writing the book?

My favorite part is you get to make your own ending.

Do you like to write?

I do NOT. But I like writing books at 826LA. Because when I write at school, it doesn’t come out very good for some reason. But when I write at 826LA, it comes out really good, because they have all this [flipping through the pages of his 826LA Field Trip book], and they even have the thing on the back with the picture of me [referring to his author’s bio].

Rashid’s very first Author’s Bio from his first grade 826LA Field Trip Book “Sara Lilly and Flippy in the Adventure of the Missing Beads”: “Wen I wrott this book I save peple from being fired. I wrott this book wen I was six.”

Rashid’s latest Author’s Bio from his second grade 826LA Field Trip Book “The Portal: A Netherworld Adventure”: “My name is Rashid. I have been writing since I was four. I like to play video games and watch TV. I like to write about my goal.”

“At school writing is boring, but when I come here, writing is awesome! At school I have to write on my own, and I don’t get any partners. But at 826LA, I like writing because I get partners. Every single person there is my partner, which I really like because we can make the best book in the world!”

And what is your goal?

It’s to start a club of elementary school ninjas. It uses mindfulness and karate. I’m not actually planning on using paper to write it though because it hurts the trees and nature…

What is it like writing a book with your whole class?

At school writing is boring, but when I come here, writing is awesome! At school I have to write on my own, and I don’t get any partners. But at 826LA, I like writing because I get partners. Every single person there is my partner, which I really like because we can make the best book in the world!

What do you like about reading your books to everyone?

It makes me feel kinda special. Everybody gets to see that I wrote this on a Field Trip. So far, I’ve shared this new book with my neighbor and my friend Ali.

What’s your favorite part about your new 826LA Field Trip book “The Portal: A Netherworld Adventure”?

The ending I wrote. I like that the good guys won. The other Field Trip book I wrote is sort of like a police story. This one’s like a superhero story. Mostly, I just like to write stories where the people who are doing the right thing win.

How does it feel to be a published author?

It’s like I get to read books, but at the same time, I get to be the one who makes them.

How does it feel to have your author’s portrait and bio?

It kind of makes me feel more like an author. It makes me feel more like I’m the only person who wrote this book, but I didn’t. I have a LOT of partners.

Advice for kids who have never come to 826LA?

If I could, I would say, “You’re going to have a great time! It’s not like normal writing. You have like 100 partners, and you barely even have to write by yourself. And you don’t need to worry. There’s only one time you need to worry about not writing messy and good pictures!

What’s your next story about?

If I was the only one writing, I would write a story about a kid who reads books and he really likes it. One of the books is magical and turns him into a superhero. He would have the power to summon forest fires so that…I mean like, he has trouble controlling his powers but when he has the power to make forest fires and thunderstorms, he can even change the weather to rain. The title would be “The Super Reader.”

Learn more about 826LA Field Trips here.

Read more pieces from our Writing the Way at 826LA blog series here

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