Word Choice

Thousand Words Project (Brushstrokes and Words & Colors and Vocabulary), Lewiston Middle School Integrating Literacy and the Arts Karla Martin

Word Choice


Both the artist’s and author’s palette offer inexhaustible choices to convey ideas. Whether a word or brush stroke, the right choice demands clarity and specificity to achieve the desired shade of meaning. To demonstrate the importance of word choice when writing, visual art is an ideal parallel from which students can draw understanding. This lesson provides students with an opportunity to discover the connections between an artist’s color choice/brush stroke and the subtleties of a writer’s word choice.


  • To understand and appreciate an artist’s unique perspective and interpretation of an event, setting, individual, etc.
  • To understand and appreciate writer’s unique perspective and interpretation of an event, setting, individual, etc.
  • To understand the parallel between word choice in writing and an artists choice in color and brush stroke.
  • To use rich, colorful, and precise word choice in writing to convey a clear and unique perspective.

Maine Learning Results



Readiness state of the students


  • Interpretation
  • Perspective


  • Two or three different works of art pieces featuring similar content, but with different interpretations
  • LCD Projector (if Intenet is art resource)
  • Writing material


1. Bell activity: Students will follow posted directions (see options) and write their ideas on paper.

  • Option 1: Viewing the selected pieces, have students brainstorm words that come to mind for each
  • Option 2: Viewing the selected pieces, have students identify similarities and differences.

If time allows, have students discuss their observations in partners.

2. Facilitate a follow-up discussion about the bell activity. If using option 1, conduct a whip-around, asking each student to report one word from their list.  Ask students why they think they chose these particular words (metacognition).If necessary, lead the discussion to point out that the pieces are different interpretations of similar content. If using bell activity option 2, begin with a whip around in which students report out one difference or similarity. Record all responses on chart paper.

3. Ask the following questions and record answers

  • Why do you think artists have different interpretations (of events, settings, people)? Record responses such as differing personal experiences, mood, age, gender, etc…
  • How did each artist share his or her uniqe perspective? Record responses such as color choice, brush stroke, etc.

4. Ask students to consider the above questions from a writer’s point of view.Record applicable responses while asking probing questions.

5. Extension Activity (second day) Instruct students to read 2-3 short pieces of literature of similar content from different perspectives. Ask the following:How are the pieces similar? How are they different? Can you explain possible reasons for the differences?


1. Closure: 3-2-1 Exit Pass List three ways artists and writers are different.     List two ways ways artists and writers are similar. Choose one precise,     colorful word to describe your favorite painting.2. Teacher observation/anecdotal notes from Writing Workshop/Conferences.3. Six Trait Writing Rubric for Word Choice.

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