“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Plato

This week I tried something new in a professional development I conducted by adding games to make it more active. One of the games we played was apples to apples…edu style. My goal was for my participants to practice thinking about words that related to ‘Personalized Learning’ in a different way and it worked. The participants loved playing! They also used their creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills. It was a great way for them to practice the content without doing a boring worksheet!

Let’s back track a little to better understand what the original game of Apples to Apples is, for those that have not played before. In Apples to Apple, a “judge” lays a category word or phrase and participants have to secretly lay a card from their hand that they believe best represents the phrase. The judge selects which card was the closest, whomever’s card they chose earns a point. To win the game when playing with four players, you need obtain eight points but before playing you can decide how many points you want to play to.

My Version: 

Using the awesome website, Fruit to Fruit Card Generator, I created my own cards. A random participant goes first as judge and pulls the top green card. Everyone, besides the judge, writes* a word that they believe most closely matches this phrase. The judge selects which word they believe most closely aligns to the phrase. The original author “keeps” the word they chose. Players earn one point whenever their word is selected; play continues until someone earns 10 points. *Learn from my mistake, make sure everyone has a dry erase marker that is the same color. This way the judge doesn’t know who played what card.

Directions for making cards:

  1. On the green cards I wrote a word that associated with Personalized Learning for the ‘title’ and on ‘line one’ I put my department on it. (You can put your class name or subject etc to help stay organized.)
  2. Then click ‘make my card’
  3. In a different tab make a document (word or google)
  4. Right click and copy the image of the card and put it into the document. (Hint: make a chart to ‘hold’ each card in the document, it makes it easier and more organized).
  5. I repeated this until I was finished with my word list.
  6. Make one red card; putting ‘word or phrase’ as the ‘title’ and again I put my department name on ‘line one’. (This card is where the players will write their answer.)
  7. Laminate them so you can use them over and over with dry erase makers.

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 1.34.36 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-06-18 at 1.36.12 PM.png


3 ways you can use Apples to Apples in the classroom:

  • English: Practice Vocabulary (this actually works for any subject)
  • Math: Put an answer on the card and students chose how to solve it and the judge picks their favorite way. (Ex: 40 would be on the side and students can put ex: 8*5= 40, 20+20 = 40)
  • History: Put events on the side and the students need to put worlds related to that event. (Ex: World War II – students could write D Day, 1939 or Germany)

I would love to hear ways you can use this in the classroom or in a professional development. Please share in the comments.




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