Lotería App for Spanish Classes

Posted by Megan Smith on February 15, 2012 in Games, iPads, Listening, Mexico

“La Sireenaaaaaa!…. El Caballitoooo!!…  El Polloooooooo!! Descarga ahora el típico juego mexicano de LOTERÍA pero en una versión contemporánea y por supuesto digital. Diversión garantizada para ti, tus amigos y la familia. Diseñada para jugar solo contra la compu o hasta 4 jugadores simultaneamente, además al jugar podrás compartir tus resultados en Facebook para que todo el mundo sepa quién es el mejor! Bajalá es GRATIS, te vas a divertir.”
loteria 2 IMG_2168Bingo en espanol la clase de espanol IMG_2164

I put this free app on my iPads in class and let the students play in groups of 2-4. It was a fun listening activity for them (they hear the word and have to put a bean on the card with that picture/word.) It lets them experience a piece of Mexican culture when  playing a version of Loteria and hearing the awesome accent of the caller. My students still randomly call out some of the words that they remember (laaaaaaa cucarachaaaaaaaa) and we played this 10 weeks ago! The best thing is that the app is actually in Spanish so there is no option to change the language back to English. They have to choose how many “jugadores” and learn to use “opciones”, “atras”, “jugar”, “comenzar”, “pausa”, “continuar”, “ganador”, and more. I assigned this as my task in the game station that they play once a week. I gave them a few things to figure out as they played. “¿Cómo se dice “main menu” en Español? They loved it!

Why shouldn’t students be able to learn and play at the same time? Isn’t it funny how motivated and awake high school students can be when they get to play?

Warning: It’s rated  for ages 12+ so it’s probably best suited for high school – novice level students.


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17 comments for “Lotería App for Spanish Classes”

  1. Susan says:

    Thanks for the idea…I found the Loteria game on Facebook. It’s fun!

  2. Susan says:


    Thanks for putting the idea in my head to find this…

  3. Kara says:

    If you don’t have the tech in class, screenshot the boards and print them. I bet they could be purchased from the Internet too. Does Teacher’s Discovery have them? I like the idea of using dried beans as markers for other games in class too.

    1. Susan says:

      Yes, Teacher’s Discovery has them; I just ordered them last night after I read this post. They also have really cool loteria stickers!

  4. senorab72 says:

    Very cool! I want to add a link to this page to my blog post about loteria at http://senorab1972.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/la-loteria-mexicana/

    1. Susan says:

      Thank you senorab72. I glanced at your info…going back now to look more carefully. 🙂

  5. teachermrw says:

    In addition to the rating, there are also stereotypical images on the cards, e.g. El borracho, the mermaid, to name two. That may not be important to some, or, it could be a teachable moment, depending on how one views the situstion.

    1. Kara says:

      Great point teachermrw! I read your blog post. My Mexican student is the one who originally suggested to play the game in class. I was worried about this too. However I found it to be an amazing discussion to have with them. My students were most intrigued with the style of the drawings/art. They were excited to see words they knew like corazón, muerto, sol, luna, etc. They asked me what borracho meant, but no other comment was made. Our school is very diverse and their lives are far from “perfect”. Maybe that is why it did not phase them.
      Changing stereotypes is so important in our classroom and we have had many conversations about respecting/understanding other cultures. To change this, it takes small doses of conversation where they can discuss their views.
      Something to ponder, what would an American lotería card look like? Would it be stereotypical? Probably. Every culture has stereotypes, some negative, but also many positive ones. I feel that way about the lotería game. It shows many positive and unique views of the culture too. The Mexican student was excited to see something so special to her being used in class.
      Again thanks for your comment, we as teachers have a delicate task of teaching culture in a responsible way.

      1. Susan says:

        I was wondering about that for the cards. I had a Loteria game a long time ago, but I was hesitant to use it because of a few of the squares, but in the last few years many of my Mexican students tell me I should play Loteria. I didn’t notice the images on the facebook app, but maybe they just weren’t on the cards I saw. I wondered if they were still on the cards. Kara, I read your post on senora B’s blog. I also had a class where people wrote 5 things about their own culture and 5 things about the other culture (in this case is was people from Latin America and U.S.)…It was interesting to see the LA’s perspectives of selves and U.S. The ones that stick out in my head are that they said Americans are loud and drive big cars. About themselves, that they are superstitious and romantic. It was interesting that most people thought of positives for their own culture and negatives for others.

        I’ll have to look at the cards when I get them from Teacher’s Discovery and do a little prep with the students about them. I do think it would be an interesting comparison to “old” things in American culture…like old movies and old board games images. We have many Mexican students in class so we’re sure to get some interesting perspectives. I always preface every culture conversation by letting students know they are free to have reactions to differences, but to stay away from saying things are wrong or stupid.

        Thanks Kara and teachermrw giving me food for thought.

  6. Susan says:

    Sorry for leaving so many messages…I thought you might find this useful relating to the above conversation.

    The Lotería board game originated in Italy in the 1400s and was brought to New Spain (Mexico) in 1769 where, for a time, it was played almost exclusively by the colonial upper classes.

    During the Mexican War of Independence (1810 – 1821), it became a common pastime with the soldiers and, as they returned home after the war, the game’s popularity spread to all of Mexico. Eventually Lotería became an essential part of travelling Mexican ferias where it was often played for money on painted wooden tablas. This tradition continues to this day; since the late 1800s, Lotería has been played extensively by Mexican families in their homes.

  7. Elizabeth Colon says:

    Quick question… is “la sirena” decent in this version of the game? I had been avoiding bringing the game or letting other students bring it in because of that particular picture.

    1. Abigail says:

      No, in the app she is not clothed and she is featured as the avatar for the two player version of the game. I teach at a middle school so this is unfortunately a dealbreaker for me, but maybe I’ll try to get my hands on a paper set and just remove those cards

  8. Kara Parker says:

    Ah, they changed the Sirena. She use to have a top. Good catch and great idea Abigail! I put a link at the end of the post to purchase the cards. Once you go there, you can see some different vendors.

  9. Kathy Leaf says:

    I can’t seem to find the app in the App Store. Could you help please? Thanks

    1. Kara Parker says:

      Check it out before you use it in class. I noticed that they have changed some of their pictures to be a little more “revealing” like the sirena, since I first used it.

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