What are Nick Allen's actions and words in Frindle by Andrew Clements?

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In the opening chapter of Frindle, author Andrew Clements identifies Nick as the type of person who is not entirely a troublemaker, though he certainly does cause a lot of trouble. He has a tendency to cause trouble because he is a very creative person. As a creative person, he thinks outside of the box and does things contrary to the rest of society, which has a tendency to cause trouble. He particularly thinks creatively whenever he feels bored and wants to enliven his boring school days.

Nick began acting upon his creative ideas when, feeling bored of New Hampshire's February winter, he got the brainstorm to turn his third-grade classroom into a tropical island, complete with colorful paper flowers, raised thermostat temperatures, and even "ten cups of fine white sand [spread] all over the classroom floor" (p. 7). In the fourth grade, he enlivened the classroom experience by experimenting with squeaking the high-pitched chirp the red-winged blackbird uses to avoid danger by confusing hawks. Since hawks can't tell where the chirp is coming from, they get confused about where to look for the blackbird. Noticing that his fourth-grade teacher looks like a hawk, Nick decided to test the sound theory on his teacher and found she definitely could not tell who was making the chirp.

When it came time to find a way to make his fifth-grade language class more interesting, headed by a super strict teacher, he tries to hijack classroom time by asking where words come from only to be assigned to research the topic himself and give an oral report. Nick's question and oral report became fodder for his greatest creative idea of all--to challenge the authority of language rules by inventing his own word.

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How does Nick act during the conference in Andrew Clements' Frindle?

In chapter 9 of Andrew Clements' Frindle, Mrs. Chatham, the school principal, visits the Allens' home to have a conference with Nick Allen and his parents. Just as he usually does, Nick tries to distract the adults around him and redirect the conversation by asking what he thinks is a "first-class thought-grenade." However, Mrs. Chatham is not fooled and very easily redirects the conversation to the topic of disrespecting authority.

Mrs. Chatham visits the Allen family because, in her mind, as well as in Mrs. Granger's mind, the children are disrespecting authority by refusing to stop calling a pen a frindle. As Mrs. Chatham explains, Mrs. Granger forbidding the children from using the word is just like forbidding them to use the word ain't: "There have to be standards" (p. 48). Since Mrs. Granger thinks there should be language standards, she is keeping kids who use the word frindle in detention and treating the usage of the word as an act of rebellion.

When Mr. Chatham brings up the point about preventing kids from using the word ain't, Nick tries to redirect the conversation by pointing out that the word ain't actually has been added to the dictionary:

You know that big dictionary in Mrs. Granger's room? The word ain't is right there in the book. I looked it up, and there it was. I don't see why I can't use a word if it's in the dictionary. Mrs. Granger even said that her big dictionary was the law. (p. 48)

Nick bringing up the usage of the word ain't is a bit off-topic since the main topic concerns Nick's usage of a word that he completely made up, a word not in the dictionary. However, despite his efforts to distract the conversation, Mrs. Chatham gets the conversation back on track by saying that neither the usage of the word ain't or frindle are the real problem; the real problem is the lack of respect for authority kids at Nick's school are showing because of Nick's influence.

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