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5.5.2: Classification Activity- La Loteria

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    In Mexico, you will find the living versions of the figures depicted on the fifty-four cards in the traditional Loteria deck. Like tarot cards, these work as symbols, offering the player an opportunity to practice classification thinking even while playing a game. If you are not familiar with this game, it plays like Bingo. The announcer or caller draws one of the 54 cards and then you place a marker on your own loteria card if your card shows that figure or image. The classification part is brought in by you, and aside from a poignant teaching opportunity surrounding stereotypical thinking, this activity will offer you the chance to enjoy the rich and beautiful versions of loteria decks popularized by the melange of cultural exchanges taking place between Americans of all cardinal directions.


    1. Pepare your loteria deck

    Please note:

    2. If you navigate to in new window) [] to start drawing cards, here are the step-by-step directions to access the SFW/non-triggering deck

    • Go to in new window) []
    • Click Host a Game
    • Click School-Friendly
    • Hit Confirm
    • Choose any Goal when asked “What’s the Rule.” (A blue checkmark should appear once you click the proper image.)
    • Hit Confirm
    • Hit Start
    • Hit Draw
    • Draw a Card

    3. Once you have a physical or digital deck that is vetted to be classroom-friendly, go ahead and draw your first card.

    What Loteria Looks Like

    For example, this screenshot shows I got El Camaron (the shrimp). I do not need to know Spanish to know it translates this way: the image helps! Another person might say it translates to the crustacean or the arthropod, maybe even the lobster! This shows how even the simple act of naming involves classification thinking.

    4. Now that you have begun drawing cards, consider playing the loteria in the traditional way, like bingo, and simply discussing the images on the cards and how they represent classifications, or groupings, or stereotyping, of people and things.

    5. Alternatively, you can draw 10 (ten) cards and work with a partner or a group to classify the images you draw into labeled groups: if you draw the shrimp, the bayonet, and the soldier, you can group the bayonet and the soldier together, for example, and label that group war imagery.

    6. Another fun way to play with the deck is to draw cards and have individuals, partners, or groups blurt out basic categorization judgments, like whether the card you draw is an animal, vegetable, or mineral, or neither. You can gamify it by assigning teams and points!

    7. Another exercise you can enjoy with the loteria deck is to discuss how these images fit into categories in your thinking, or even how the figures in the cards relate to your personal experiences. This may lead to narration writing, but you'll find that almost every good story includes at least one or two other rhetorical modes, or approaches, to engage, entertain, persuade, or simply inform the reader.