Overview For Teachers


The Thousand Words Project is intended for use with students in grades 6-12. The project utilizes art from the Bates College Museum of Art’s collections and conversations with artists and writers to demonstrate the relationship between writing and artistic process. Students will learn to look actively at art and communicate their thoughts and ideas. Lessons accompany each of the video segments and include introductory, viewing, and Writing Through Art activities that incorporate the 6+1 TRAIT model. In the sidebar of each lesson you will find a Quick Start guide that provides the video segment and arrow icons that link to the introductory and post-viewing activities for that lesson. Strategies and resources for integrating technology, directly corresponding to each lesson, are also included throughout the site. The following Tech Tip icon links to a comprehensive notebook that provides ideas and instructions on how to use technology to enhance the lessons.

Where to start

Think about how you will approach implementing The Thousand Words Project in your classroom. The lessons and video are best viewed in sequence since each lesson builds upon the previous one and culminates in the completion of a written piece. When used, as designed, the project will take a little over two weeks to implement. If this approach does not fit your time frame and/or meet the needs of your students, consider adapting segment activities to better suit your needs. You will find the lessons easily adaptable for your unique situation.


The Thousand Words Project is designed to provide students with an opportunity to:

  • Discover some of the collections held at Bates Museum of Art.
  • Recognize how works of art, like writing, communicate ideas.
  • Formulate a relationship between the writing and artistic process.
  • Examine and try a variety of writing strategies.
  • Express and communicate ideas about art to an audience.
  • Complete a written piece based on analysis of a work of art from Bates Museum of Art.


The Thousand Words Project is built upon important 21st century student outcomes and serves to develop and increase students’ Learning and Innovation Skills with lessons that involve critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. Students will also build upon their Information, Media, and Technology Skills as they progress through the project.

All lessons included within this guide are directly aligned to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. Completion of this project provides an opportunity for students to work towards the attainment of multiple standards in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language, including:

  • W.CCR.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • W.CCR.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
  • W.CCR.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
  • W.CCR.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.

Lessons also align with the following Visual and Performing Arts standards included in Maine’s 2007 Learning Results: Parameters for Essential Instruction:

  • A. Disciplinary Literacy – Visual Arts: Students show literacy in the art discipline by understanding and demonstrating concepts, skills, terminology, and processes.
  • D. Aesthetics and Criticism: Students describe, analyze, interpret, and evaluate art.
  • E. Visual and Performing Arts Connections: Students understand the relationship among the arts, history and world culture; and they make connections among the arts to other disciplines, to goal-setting, and to interpersonal interaction.

Additional standards, specific to each segment, are listed in the guide for each segment or you can view the complete project list here.

Literacy focus


Students may need to be introduced to some vocabulary used in the film, prior to their viewing of it. It would be helpful to create a Word Wall to display terms and/or use a Triple Entry Vocabulary strategy to help students increase their familiarity and understanding of the terms. Below is a list of general academic words and domain-specific words included in the video. See the video guide for each segment to view which term(s) are associated with specific segments.

Literacy Strategy- Word Wall

General Academic Words/PhrasesDomain-Specific Words/Phrases
exodushistorical accuracy
interpretationorganic lines
renderingstate proof
think outside the box