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

    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

    • Are you the person who shows up on time or 10 minutes late?⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣
I grew up knowing the rule that if you’re on time, you’re late! ⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣
And because of that, I wear a watch every, single day ❤️🤷🏼‍♀️ ⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣
So, when @jordwatches reached out to me to send me some watches, I said, “Heck yes!”⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣
And you know what? I honestly really LOVE this watch. It really is so well made. ⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣
I’ve partnered with them to do a little giveaway for you! ❤️🥳 All you have to do is go to the link in my profile and click on the button that says “JORD Watch Giveaway” to enter to win $100 off of any watch!! ⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣
Even if you don’t win, you’ll get a nice 10% off coupon code that will be emailed to you. ⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣
The winner will be emailed within the month once the contest has ended. ⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣
Can’t wait to see who wins!⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣
😘
    • QUICK GIVEAWAY ❤️😘 I’ll be picking TWO teachers to receive these positive student notes!⁣
⁣⁣⁣
I made these awesome positive sticky notes for middle school students that are a great way to build classroom community!⁣⁣⁣
⁣
Simply ...⁣
1️⃣ Like this post ❤️⁣
2️⃣ Follow us ✅⁣
3️⃣ Tag a friend! 👯 ⁣
⁣
⁣⁣⁣
Let me know if you’d like me to DM you the link to our store where you can grab these!⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣
Happy Thursday you guys ...⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣⁣
... almost there 😘
    • Give me a ❤️ if you’re a One Pager fan like Jessica and I are!⁣⁣
⁣⁣
But ...⁣⁣
⁣⁣
... you have to make sure you’re using them CORRECTLY!⁣⁣
⁣⁣
So that students are genuinely engaging with and reflecting upon the text in a meaningful way. ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
It’s not all supposed to be just rainbows and bunnies (although who doesn’t love those?!) 🐰 ⁣⁣
⁣⁣
We put a whole blog post together for you all about the one pager assignment so that you can make sure you’re using it effectively in your classroom.⁣
⁣
Head over there so you can make sure to avoid some easy mistakes as well as make sure your students no longer turn in “ehhhh” work!⁣
⁣⁣
Link to read is in our profile! 😘
    • Double tap if you agree ❤️❤️⁣
⁣
So many of you left messages on my post from the other day about needing to hear my message (if you haven’t read it yet, go back a day and do so). ⁣
⁣
But I really do want you to know that as the years go on, you’ll get better at teaching the actual content. ⁣
⁣
You’ll come up with fun lessons and ideas. ⁣
⁣
Exciting and engaging strategies. ⁣
⁣
You’ll be able to track data more easily and use it to help influence your craft. ⁣
⁣
But until then, just teach your kids to be GOOD people. To do good in the world. To love others. ⁣
⁣
And love them. That’s really what so many of them truly need. ⁣
⁣
A good role model and another adult who wants what’s best for them. ⁣
⁣
Do that 😘 ⁣
⁣
Love to you all, friends! 
Quote originally posted by my friend @hansonhallway ❤️
    • Alright, alright ... I guess I’ll participate in the #10yearchallenge (even though this is 11 years). ⁣
⁣
I’m trying to think of the advice I would have given to my 22-year old self about teaching ...⁣
⁣
- It’s literally the best job. Ever. Take it from someone who has left teaching twice, only to come back because I missed it so much!⁣
⁣
- You need to learn to separate yourself from your work (especially emotionally when it comes to parents, admin, colleagues, or students who disagree with you). I’ve totally changed how I handle challenging parents/students/situations, and it’s made a WORLD OF A DIFFERENCE in my mental health. ⁣
⁣
- The first 2-3 years, just do your best and love the kids. Eventually you’ll master how to actually teach, but that doesn’t come right at the beginning. You really have to work for that. ⁣
⁣
- Be open to criticism, feedback, and observations!! People really do just want you to be the best teacher you can be! You can’t do that if you aren’t willing to change and try new things. ⁣
⁣
- Sleep. Go to bed at a decent hour and sleep. The grading will always get done, but there’s nothing more important than sleep. ⁣
⁣
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
    • Double tap ❤️ if you’re team Oxford Comma like I am! •
📸@prestoplans

    Follow @ebacademics

    ×