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Tutorial: Hidden Text Reveal

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by MARK WEST 11/12/10

Mac Tips

Special Keys

The Mac Command Key

You probably call this the "Apple Key", but it's officially called the Command Key and it is located near your spacebar. It is used on a Mac much like the control key is used on Microsoft Windows®; example: control-c on Windows copies and on a Mac we use command-c; control-v pastes on Windows and command-v pastes on Mac OS.

The Option Key

The Option Key is located near the Command Key and is sometimes called the ALT key. This key can frustrate a Windows user, as it doesn't work as a Windows ALT key does (you'll often use the Command Key on Mac where ALT is used in Windows), such as when tabbing through open applications: on Windows it's ALT-Tab, on a Mac it's Command-Tab.

The Control Key

The Control Key is located near the Command Key and has special funtions on a Mac (see "Right Clicking" below).

Exiting A Bad Program

On Windows, Alt+F4 will quickly terminate a program.

On Mac OS, Command+Q will quickly terminate a program.

The "3-Finger Salute"

On Windows, when a program stops behaving properly, you can press Control+Alt+Delete to invoke the Task Manager to make an application stop.

On Mac OS, you can accomplish the same thing by pressing Command+Option+Escape; this invokes the Force Quit menu and you can make applications stop.

"Right Clicking"

Sometimes you need to right click. On most computers it's easy, as they come with a two-button mouse. On Mac OS, you typically find a single-button mouse.

You can plug a two-button mouse in to a Mac and it will work. The reason is because two-button mice work on Unix and Mac OS is a Unix variant that uses parts from FreeBSD's and NetBSD's implementation of Unix.

You can also "right click" on a Mac with a single button mouse. To do so, you can do either of the following:

  1. Press and hold the Control Key while clicking.
  2. (This one only works if you have a Mac with a touchpad - usually a laptop) place two fingers on the touchpad while clicking.

Tutorial: Hidden Text

I was showing off Kevin Crawford's 9 ways to reveal answers in a professional development session and demonstrated how to duplicate the effects Mr. Crawford achieved. Crawford's basis for that flipchart appears to have been inspired by Nine Instructional Strategies from Classroom Instruction That Works by Marzano R., Pickering D. and Pollock J. (arguably, it could have been other research). Revealing answers corresponds well with strategy 1 of the 9 strategies (Identifying Similarities And Differences specifically in Classifying). See also Marzano, Robert J.; Gaddy, Barbara B. and Dean, Ceri. What Works In Classroom Instruction. © 2000 McREL. Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning.

If you are referring to Crawford's flipchart, this was his way #2.

Crawford's Flipchart Tutorials

Who would use this, anyway?

Nearly every discipline has items that need to be identified. Here are some examples from the 5th-8th grade standards:


Describe and identify the five regular (Platonic) solids and their properties with respect to faces, shapes of faces, edges, and vertices.

Identify, define or describe geometric shapes given a visual representation or a written description of its properties.

Use visualization to describe or identify intersections, cross-sections, and various views of geometric figures.

Social Studies:

Identify significant examples of art, music, and literature from various periods in United States history.

Identify the similarities and differences within and among selected racial, ethnic, and religious groups in Tennessee.

Identify the founders of the world's major religions.

Identify ways resources are recycled.

Identify specific technological innovations and their uses.


Identify tools needed to investigate specific questions.

Identify the environmental conditions and interdependencies among organisms found in the major biomes.

Identify the function of the major plant and animal cellular organelles.

Identify the atomic number, atomic mass, number of protons, neutrons, and electrons in an atom of an element using the periodic table.


For this tutorial, you will need a picture of the bottle of hand sanitizer (below) and your trusty copy of ActivInspire. To download a copy of this image, press the control key as you click and choose "Save Image As..." or perhaps "Download Image" (alternately if you have a little desktop showing, you can click the image and drag it to your desktop).

The Picture

germ-X hand sanitizer


  1. Open ActivInspire and work on a new flipchart.
  2. Choose the select tool (arrow) from the Toolbox
  3. Either using the "Insert Media From File" toolbox icon or click and drag, get the picture of the hand sanitizer (Sanitizer.JPG) in your flipchart.
  4. Choose the Text tool (T) from the Toolbox
  5. Somewhere below the picture type the words Hand Sanitizer
  6. Choose the select tool (arrow) from the Toolbox
  7. Click on the picture.
  8. Click on the Action Browser (it looks like a toy top; if you can't see your browsers, go to the "View" menu and choose "Browsers").
  9. You want the action called Hidden. Note that you can filter it from all commands down to Action Commands, but the list is still long (but always alphabetical).
  10. Target the action as working on the text.
    1. To do this Look at the Action Properties and look for Target and click the box with the three dots (elipsis).
    2. The Select Object box pops up.
    3. Click on the Text (probably called Text1) and the click the OK button.
    4. Back on the Action browser, click on the Apply Changes button at the bottom.

Now click the picture. The words hand sanitizer should disappear. Click again and the words reappear. All you have to do is save the flipchart with the words hidden and then in class you can click on the picture to make the answer appear.

Naturally, you would want to replace the picture with something in your content and change the words. Happy Teaching!

Below I have attached "Revealer2.flipchart" so you can see the example in action. Just be sure to be using your Select Tool (arrow) and not your pen (else you'll draw on the picture...)

Mark West,
Nov 12, 2010, 7:16 AM