The fifth graders of Laketon Elementary School in Andrew Clements' No Talking were known for their extreme amounts of talking since they were in kindergarten. They were deemed the "unshushables." They were disruptive and rude in class and were so loud at lunch and on the bus that the noise was unbearable. In addition to these not so flattering traits, the fifth graders had still not gotten over the cooties phenomenon and needless to say the boys and girls DID NOT get along. When Dave reads about Ghandi and his vow of not speaking in order to think more clearly, Dave decides to try it. In his silence he becomes irriated at the amount of talking, especially that coming from the girls. So, he challenges Lynsey, saying the boys can stay quieter than the girls. She accepts the challenge on behalf of the girls, and the no talking competition is on...
Here are the rules:
- No Talking!
- Talking is ONLY allowed in response to a teacher, but only 3 word answers are acceptable.
- No talking at home, not even in response to parents.
- Each illegal word is a point.
- Whoever has more points after the set 48 hours (boys or girls) loses.
- If the girls win, Dave must walk around with an "L" written on his fordhead. Same goes for Lynsey if the boys win.
Teachers: Here are some resources and ideas to help you with this novel...
- Reading Group Guide: This website offers a list of reading group questions as well as extension activities to go along with No Talking. You have the opportunity to actually buy the book here, but I would not recommend it as you can find it much less expensive on other sites.
- Dave and Lynsey Voki: This website uses www.voki.com to create Dave and Lynsey. The characters explain the novel in a very engaging way. This could be a wonderful initiation to the reading of No Talking.
Vocabulary: Here are some words I found while reading that you may want to preteach: recruits, re-enlist, tolerance, ignorant, contractions, commotion, vandalism, disorderly, courteous, cope, chaos, possessed, unauthorized, quantities, corridor, jinx, preliminary, theory, divide and conquer, skirmish, moody, alert, disruptive, rascal, ringleaders, intercepted, stereotypes, faculty, discrimination, solitary confinement, daze, truce, deliberately, conservation, logical, ruckus, civil disobedience, haiku, wits, enlightening, stratospheric, tumult
Before Reading: After introducing this novel, have students write down a prediction stating who they think will win the contest and why.
During Reading: Have a book discussion(s) using the 3 word rule from No Talking.This way students can experience how difficult it is to use only 3 words as well as how important it is to really think about what they are saying when they only have 3 words to say it in.
After Reading/Writing: Writing Prompt: Write a persuasive essay stating who you think should have won the no talking contest since both Dave and Lynsey gave important speeches that added more illegal words than any other student had spoken to the overall tallies.
Clements, A. (2009). No Talking. New York: Atheneum.
Happy Reading (&Running) =)