Quick and Easy ELA Game: Balderdash - EB Academics

Grab Your Free Writing Guide

Become an EB Insider Today

Quick and Easy ELA Game: Balderdash

June 15, 2017 3 min read

Quick and Easy ELA Game: Balderdash

June 15, 2017 3 min read

We all have those days when an assembly ends earlier than expected and we have twenty minutes to kill before lunch, or the copier breaks down for the hundredth time. Or today’s lesson has to be postponed, or it’s the last week of school and students are getting a bit restless. While D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) is always a wonderful option to fill the time, sometimes it’s nice to switch it up. Enter Balderdash – a quick and easy ELA game.

I’d almost forgotten about this game until I stumbled across the original board game version in my garage last weekend. I brought it into school yesterday and ended up using it in third, fourth, and fifth grades as a fun activity in between the talent show and lunch. While I wouldn’t go younger than third, any other grade is great for playing. In fact, the older, the better, since it’s technically a game for adults.

Don’t own the game or want to buy it? Here’s how to play with some scraps of paper, pencils, and access to Google.

Balderdash is a great classroom filler to keep students thinking and engaged when you have a few random minutes! Use this with your middle school, high school, or even upper elementary students!
Prior to playing:
  • Choose several random words from the dictionary that students would NOT be familiar with. Write out the correct definition for your answer key.
  • Visit this website http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history, and using the calendar option, write down a few dates and a brief description of the notable event that occurred. Add these to your answer key.
  • Google “one hundred people doing extraordinary things” and choose a few interesting people…write down the name and a brief description of their accomplishment. Here’s an example: Frank Epperson (invented the frozen popsicle). Again, add to your answer key.
Day of the Game: 
  • Divide your students into small groups (no more than 5 students per group) and pass out a bunch of blank papers (index cards work great!), and a pencil.
  • Read aloud your first word, date, or interesting person, and have each group write down their made up, but believable answers/definitions for these words, and hand them to you. Make sure you also write down the real answer.
  • Mix up the papers and read them aloud. Each group guesses what they think is the right answer. One point is awarded if they guess correctly. Additional points are awarded for each time they fool another group with their made up definition.
Balderdash is a great classroom filler to keep students thinking and engaged when you have a few random minutes! Use this with your middle school, high school, or even upper elementary students!

 

Note: Play as many rounds as you have time for. Each round, let a different group guess first, as sometimes a strategy might be to guess your own made up definition and see if other groups follow suit.

No time to prep for the game? We’ve got you covered. Here’s ten rounds ready to be played immediately!
  1. Ombrosalgia: aches and pains when it rains
  2. Woopknacker: an aggressive, loud-mouthed person
  3. Bandonion: a type of accordian popular in South America
  4. June 4, 1937: The first wheeled shopping cart was introduced at a grocery store in Oklahoma City
  5. November 12, 1969: A total eclipse of the sun happened
  6. October 21, 1980: The Philadelphia Phillies won their first World Series.
  7. Sharon Adams: the first woman to sail across the Pacific Ocean alone
  8. John Kunst: first man to walk around the world alone (He used a boat to go across water!)
  9. Elmer Water: designed a knife and fork that had mirrors so people could check their teeth for bits of leftover food
  10. Sara Hale: wrote the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”

We hope you have fun playing this game with your students! Need another time filler (but educational activity?) Check out our blog post on idiom artwork by clicking here.

 
Save this post for later!
Balderdash is a great classroom filler to keep students thinking and engaged when you have a few random minutes! Use this with your middle school, high school, or even upper elementary students!
EB Academic Camps

All posts

2 Comments

  • Sharon Fabian June 15, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Looks like a fun game, and the sources for finding game topics will definitely be helpful!

    • EB Academic Camps June 16, 2017 at 4:30 am

      The kids definitely enjoy it! Hopefully you'll find it to be a good classroom filler when you need it 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
      – Caitlin & Jessica

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Welcome!

    Welcome!

    Hi there! We're two middle school ELA teachers with a mission to share ideas, tips, and tricks for effectively teaching reading and writing in the secondary classroom. We're so happy you stopped by!

    Caitlin + Jessica

    Your 15 Free Resources Are Waiting!

    Immediately receive access to our
    Free Resource Library

    We promise we won't spam you.

    Let’s Connect

    Popular Posts

    Our Latest Posts

    Categories

    Instagram

    • What’s your go-to teacher outfit? Mine is almost always a dress because it’s SO easy! It’s one piece, and you’re done! 💕 I also love dressing up for school because it puts me in a good mood - what can I say ...? I love a cute outfit! 😘
    • Double tap if you agree 💕 ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
I had an aspiring teacher DM me the other day to day she was second guessing her decision to go into education ...⁣⁣
⁣⁣
The reason? ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
That she felt like she wasn’t creative enough or that she wasn’t good enough because of all of the incredibly creative teachers that she’s seen on Instagram. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
And you know what? That made me really sad. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
Because teaching is not all that Instagram shows in any capacity whatsoever. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
And I told her all you really need to know that first year of teaching is that you need to love your kids and be kind to them. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
Above all else that is the most important.⁣
⁣
So with that ... Love your kids and be kind 😘 ⁣
⁣
Love you guys!
    • There are few things I love as much as teaching literary analysis! My kids have an in-class essay tomorrow, and these posters outline the exact framework they should follow 💕 If you’re in the FB group that @doccopteaching and I started, this is a free file in there! If not, DM me, and I’ll send you the link to join! 😘
    • HS and MS ELA teachers ... Will you be joining @buildingbooklove @readitwriteitlearnit @readingandwritinghaven and @doccopteaching and me next week?! Let me know in the comments if you’d like me to DM you the link to register!! It’s 100% free and 100% online 😘 Love you guys!!
    • Loving this collection of Sarah Dessen books from @elaclassroom ! Have you read any / do you love them? Hope you guys are having a great weekend! Love you all! 😘
    • You can never hear this enough 💕 One more day, team, one more day this week ... to make them feel loved, to show them kindness, to create memories, to impact their lives and hearts forever. Seriously 💕

    Follow @ebacademics

    ×