Word Art - Yes AND…

Check out the some of the creative Word Art lessons posted by teachers using the #EveryoneCanCreate tag in our Apple Education Community:

There are also some fantastic ideas in the EveryoneCanCreate (drawing) series.

These ideas along with a post in the TPS Teachers Network about the letterpress artist Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. gave me a “Yes and...” idea for a history or civics lesson using Keynote. (See blog post by the Library of Congress Letterpress Artist Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.’s Rosa Parks Series.)

Kennedy’s letterpress printing has historical or social justice messaging. He applies layers and colors on words that are either proverbs or short quotes from famous speeches. High school students taking history or government could emulate Kennedy’s design, creating with Keynote, and use their own selected historic quotes. Then with their Keynote “letterpress” art they can share, discuss and display. As they engage in research and analysis to create the content for their slides, they’ll learn how words with visuals go a long way in punctuating a message.

As an example I tried the process of layering words with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.. Using Keynote on iPad, I put the King quote on one Keynote slide and the following information about the quote on each subsequent slide:

  • Who: Martin Luther King, Jr. Preacher & Civil Rights Activists
  • When: to an audience in Montgomery, Alabama in 1957
  • Date: January 16, 2023 Day of  Service Martin Luther King, Jr.

Then, after adjusting colors and opacity, I pasted each slide’s text on the slide with the quote. In each text box, I tapped Brush/Text/Arrange and used MOVE TO BACK/FRONT, arranging so parts of the message would underlie others.

Screen shot of Keynote with Martin Luther King Jr. quote.
Screen shot of Keynote with Martin Luther King Jr. quote and information on the quote.

I also added a Dynamic Background to the Keynote slide to give it some movement (tap the Slide/Brush/and then Background/Dynamic Background). Here is a screen recording (sped up in iMovie) using Dynamic Background.

As one works closely with words in this way the meaning becomes personalized.  And for the viewer, a closer look at the layered words reveals several aspects of the message. This activity encourages research as well as digital creation and would work well with a history or civics lesson.

Students can hear from Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. about his art: Library of Congress Art in Action: A Conversation with Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.

Example of Keynote art poster using text arranged in layers and emulating the art of Amos Paul Kennedy
My art poster created in Keynote using text blocks arranged in layers and emulating the art of Amos Paul Kennedy. Quote by Martin Luther King Jr.

All Replies

Posted on August 23, 2023

I love how this brings so many areas together - literacy, social studies, art, and creativity.

Posted on August 26, 2023

What an awesome use of Keynote to create meaningful art, Cheryl! I loved the connection to Amos Paul Kennedy Jr.'s work. The interview with him that you linked above was wonderful!

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