In Andrew Clements's novel No Talking, the fifth graders at Dave Packer's school are generally a noisy bunch. Dave, however, decides that he will try to be silent one day each week in imitation of Ghandi. The fifth graders also have issues between boys and girls, who are quite divided and carry on a rivalry.
Dave's primary rival is his study partner, Lynsey Burgess. Dave gets highly annoyed with Lynsey because she talks too much, and the two argue at lunch. Then they develop a challenge. For two days, the fifth graders will not talk except in three word answers. The boys will compete against the girls and keep track of how many extra words are spoken. Their classmates agree to participate.
The teachers are totally confused by the fifth graders' new silence. Mrs. Hiatt, the principal, thinks she must be dreaming because she is always having to tell the kids to quiet down. As the days go on, though, Mrs. Hiatt actually because upset with the game and calls an assembly, ordering the kids to quit playing. They do not, however, and Mrs. Hiatt ends up yelling at Dave, only to feel sorry almost at once. The principal apologizes to Dave and actually joins in the game.
The other teachers have mixed feelings about the game. Mr. Burton, the language arts teacher, thinks it's a wonderful exercise and incorporates it into his class as well as into a paper for a course that he is taking. Science teacher Mrs. Marlow turns the game into an experiment. Music teacher Mrs. Akers is at first upset that her students will not sing, but she lets them hum instead. Mrs. Hensley, the gym teacher, is thrilled by the ease of teaching when the kids aren't talking.
In the end, the boys and girls tie the no-talking game, and both kids and adults learn much in the process.