The Thousand Words Project (TWP) uses art from in the Bates College Museum of Art's collections as tools for learning language skills. Students learn to look actively at art, to develop thoughts and critical ideas about it, to examine emotional reactions, and to articulate those thoughts and feelings verbally and in writing. They learn experientially about the interdisciplinary cross-fertilization that historically has occurred between the visual and liberal arts by using art as a point of departure for a variety of written works.
Assignments progress from simple, descriptive writings to more creative works such as poetry and fiction. As fodder for their writing assignments, classes can meet at the Museum regularly to view and discuss personal essays and art, or they can use this website to access information. This project offers collaborations with the arts without sacrificing content. The Museum becomes integrated with the curricula and an extension of the classroom rather than a destination for a field trip.
TWP is designed for sustained use of the Museum and its resources by bringing students
into repeated contact with works of art. Sessions build skills and present
concepts sequentially. We, first examine the fundamental aspects of writing
and painting by, for example, looking at the similarities between
individual words and individual strokes of paint and how they build
upon each other into progressively complex arrangements to convey ideas and
images. Later sessions assignments might lead students through the process of being reporters who cover the arts beat. The essays that are the result of the assignment allow students to get experience with journalistic writing while examining
the art form of portraiture, for example.
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