Creating a Spotlight in Keynote (Medieval Europe Lesson Starter)

I really like to start my lessons with a thinking activity or something that gets the students to discuss ideas. This activity is inspired by the Thinking Routine Zoom Out where students are revealed just a small part of an image and then a bit more as if a camera is zooming out, but instead of revealing the whole image, I'm just spotlighting different sections of the image.

This can be done really creatively through Keynote and Magic Move.

By using the subtract tool in Keynote where you subject one image's shape from another shape, you can create a spotlight which when combined with Magic Move, allows you to make an animation that looks like it is moving across your slide.

Check out this video instruction which hopefully explains it clearly (transcript is available with the video), and my sample of the Bayeux Tapestry is attached below.


Screenshot of 6 slides showing the spotlight activity.
Screenshot of Slides


6 replies

August 29, 2022

Very creative idea! So perfect for primary source analysis. Thanks!

September 09, 2022

Another thought on this… a couple of years back I was using the Image/Edit Mask tool in Keynote to reveal parts of a primary source. The concept was to have students look at just a piece of an image, discuss and hypothesize before revealing more. Similar, but your Spotlight is a creative twist on this!

To create the “reveal” I added a primary source image on the first Keynote slide. Then tapped Image/Edit Mask to hide most of the image. Next I duplicated that first slide and used Image/Edit Mask to show more of the image. Duplicated the slide again to reveal more, and so on. Here is a Keynote Export to Video of the results.

This image is from the Library of Congress Title: Welcome to all, Date Created/Published: 1880, Medium: 1 print : lithograph, color. Summary: Uncle Sam on "U.S. Ark of Refuge" welcoming immigrants, with cloud "War" over them.

September 09, 2022

I love this idea too, thanks Cheryl for sharing. I really like how it focuses students on all parts of a source and not just the main figure; students get some much more from exploring parts of a source by looking at the subtleties of what is happening. Got to love the different options Keynote can offer too :)

September 01, 2022

This is brilliant! Thank you for sharing! I appreciate that you shared a how-to video as well! So helpful! What a fun, engaging way to get kids discussing the content / topic! It reminds me of the green-screen reveal type activity which I love as well.

September 05, 2022

This is brilliant, Erin. Thanks for sharing it. It would be great to then get kids to recreate this, and highlight bits that they think are important. Some of them might choose the same bits as you, but others could extend it to show their own thinking. A great way of differentiating within the task.

I'm going to find a way to use this somehow this year. Thank you.

September 11, 2022

I love the idea of students creating their own, Jentzly. They could create a voice over as well justify their choices. Thanks for the idea!

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