Art Thinking

The Art Thinking section of this site focuses on critical thinking, looking at, reflecting on and responding to art, with many teaching activities to help build these "art thinking" skills. This includes writing about art, research skills, developing vocabulary, and using investigation and research to support art making.

Also in this section are resources on culture and context and examples of how to include this in our teaching. Culture is addressed from a geographic point of view but also from a thematic angle, with examples within different cultural, social and contexts. Cross curricular connections are a great way to develop art work related to other topics the student is studying.

Here are some of the topics in the Art Thinking section

Intuitive Response

a way of introducing students to formulate and articulate a response when looking at artworks for the first time

Writing about Art

Research and Practice How research informs and supports art practice

Finding Information on Artists

Web Resources for Art History

Referencing and Citing Sources

Building Art Vocabulary

Art Glossaries

Cross Curricular Connections

Different disciplines approach creativity, exploration and research in different ways and from different perspectives; when working together they open up new ways of seeing, experiencing and interpreting the world around us. From Art and Chemistry  to Sound Art ,lots of suggestions for how to integrate art with other subject areas.

Culture and Context

This large section looks at teaching contextual understanding, with pages on Cultural Perspective, on discovering Your Cultural Influences, with helpful links to art history resources,  Timelines and teaching ideas from  Renaissance Selfies to African American Quilting

Selected Pages


Cultural and Geographic Focus 13 November 2017

Our notion of art is primarily taught from a Western, European perspective. These pages are an invitation to explore the...


Interdisciplinary Connections 31 August 2017

Collaboration between the arts and other subject areas has the potential to create new knowledge, and cross fertilize ideas...


Intuitive Response 19 March 2017

When looking at art works for the first time we naturally have an intuitive response, we like or we don’t like or maybe...

Defining Culture 29 August 2017

Culture is a complex concept and can be quite hard to define. It encompasses human intellectual achievement as well as popular...

Mindmapping 29 August 2017

Mindmaps can be very useful in many occasions, particularly when a student is having trouble...

Writing about Art 29 August 2017

Yes, and both written and visual research are part of the curriculum. That doesn't mean polished essay writing but it does...

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Comments 5

Hanna Lofman 11 September 2017 - 19:06

Cannot find anymore the Basic art analysis site? It was a great way to get started for comparative study in first Diploma year

Heather McReynolds 13 September 2017 - 12:35

HI Hanna, do you mean basic visual analysis? -
also useful is the formal elements
compare and contrast
and this weeks newest page is really useful for the kind of analysis students need to learn, try it on

Daniel Banda 5 December 2017 - 07:57

Hi Heather
My last results indicated that I was slightly generous in awarding grades to my students, however the grading was still under the expected marking descriptor level..How can I improve on this to avoid it from happening again. My second question is on the E-submission portal where I had forgotten to enter teacher comments for my students and I feel that this costed them and me to get those good grades by forgetting to inform my coordinator for my teacher comments. Do I personally login this year to enter all my E-submission for my students without my coordinator`s logins or approval.

Daniel Banda 5 December 2017 - 08:03

I believe or heard that IBIS is implementing this to all IB teachers to submit the final student exams for specific subjects.

Heather McReynolds 5 December 2017 - 09:50

Yes Daniel, speak to your DP coordinator to get your log in credentials and you can enter all submissions yourself. Re getting the marking right, the best thing is to attend a workshop and engage in marking samples and discussing these marks with other teachers, this often is very helpful!

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