O Pioneers! Illuminated Texts 

"For an illuminated text, the screen is the stage
and the words themselves are the performers
that give vibrant life to the scene."

- Cesar Hernandez (junior, completing an illuminated text for King Lear)

Introduction: I was first introduced to projects like this one at the Folger Teaching Shakespeare Institute. To be totally honest, I was concerned about teaching this skill to my students, because I didn't know how to do custom animation. However, with a little help from my technology department, my students and I were fast learners!

Text: Willa Cather's O Pioneers!

Grade: Juniors/Seniors

Difficulty: Moderately difficult (Learning the technology skill set is the first hurdle; analyzing texts successfully is the next one)

Applications: You could use any descriptive English text for the basis of this project.

Sample Illuminated Texts: Below are links to some illuminated texts created by my students (on PowerPoint). Feel free to explore and use as examples in your own classroom!

Mark's project: DevliPioneers.ppt 

Allen's project: KimPioneers.ppt 

Note: This project was introduced to me by Joe Scotese. You can learn more about Joe at awaytoteach.net.


For this project, you will be creating a PowerPoint presentation illuminating the language of a passage from Willa Cather’s O Pioneers!. Your goal is to make the words themselves visually reflect the meaning of the text. Consider carefully who is doing what; for example, if "Marie picked it up"--it makes more sense to move up the word "it" than the word "up," since "it" is what is moving. Feel free to look at the samples to the left for inspiration!

Requirements (any requirements not followed will result in a loss of points):
1.    Your presentation should be 1-3 minutes in length.
2.    Your presentation must contain at least 6 slides.
3.    Your presentation must use exact language from the text.
4.    Your presentation must be animated.
5.    Your final presentation must be stored on a USB drive.

1.    You may choose to add music in the background.

Of note:
This is not a PowerPoint like you’ve ever done it before. This is more about language than images, more about understanding meaning than being flashy with technology. Therefore, do not try to do what you’ve done before. Take risks. Ask for help. Most of all, challenge yourself to have fun while learning something totally new.