Thursday, January 24, 2008

No Talking

Clements, Andrew. 2007. NO TALKING. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781416909835 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-6]

Researching India, Dave Packer discovers that Mahatma Gandhi spent one day of each week in silence to clear his mind. Dave decides to try to spend a day without talking and discovers a lot by listening. He discovers that that he can make it through half a day before he blows up at Lindsey Burgess because of her incessant chatter. He challenges her to a day of silence to see if it’s true that girls talk more than boys. They agree to a contest of no talking for two days with only three word answers to teachers. If more than three words are spoken, points are deducted from the team. The team with the fewest points at the end of two days wins.

Clements’ direct narration (he speaks directly to the reader) and the realistic, funny dialogue make this is a great read-aloud. Students are fascinated by the social experiment here and are drawn into the battle lines of boys vs. girls. Along the way, students understand that there are many ways to communicate and many kinds of alliances. Even though this is a quick, fun read, it also provides lots of opportunity for discussion about communication, competition, gender, and relationships.

Invite students to spend a day in silence. Ask them to journal about their experience. Have them discuss the ups and downs they encountered. Discuss Gandhi’s idea that no talking helped bring order to his mind.

Other school stories by the same author:

By Cay Geisler

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