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I’ve previously posted about a lesson I use in my International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge classes when we finish our unit on the Arts. You can check out Play-Doh & IB Theory Of Knowledge: Student Hand-Out & Videos for more details but, basically, students have fifteen minutes to create something with a can of Play Doh and then quickly write a short paragraph – using evidence from what we’ve learned – explaining why their creation is “art.”

Here are three examples of paragraphs students wrote last week (published with permission), followed by short musical slideshows of artwork from both of my TOK classes:



I made a wave of 6 layers to represent my 6 IB classes and in the middle is me, ready to become consumed by the 6 layer wave.  On the outskirts, you have a series of bystanders who are cheering me on.

This is art because it has meaning and depth behind it.  It is art because it can mean different things to different people.  It is art because I said it is. “Art is anything you can get away with.” – Marshall McLuhan.  Art is anything you believe is art.  So, for different people art becomes different things.  This is why my piece is art.



I decided to make the deathly hallows from Harry Potter.  I also created a snake to accompany it.  This is art because I produced something with emotion , which in this case is joy and bliss.  The Harry Potter Universe reminds me of my childhood and my pure innocence that comes from it – when things were simple.  Tolstoy’s definition of art is “The ability to transmit a feeling one has experienced to others through movements, lines, colours, etc.”  This is why I chose to make the deathly hallows.  I hope it radiates the same mirth with which it was made to other Potterheads.  The snake alongside with it represents my House, because I have Slytherin pride 😊



My creation is art because it is something that expresses emotion.  Throughout the whole lesson on art the only thing that I really understood is how it’s a “transmission of feeling the artist has experienced” (Tolstoy).  Art is one way humans are able to express everything they’re feeling.  I created what I interpret as the ocean – it makes me feel calm and I experienced a state of tranquility as I created it.  But others may have other thoughts when they view it.  What I have created is art because it explains everything I am feeling at this exact moment in my life – a state of balance.