They are heeeeeerrreee…

What looks interesting and do-able? You have to love it because you need to be passionate about it and well versed. I will be guiding you through the entire essay process in the next few months.

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Remember that the Essay is an EXTERNAL ASSESSMENT worth twice as much as your presentation. It gets sent all over the world, not to the same examiner (so please refrain from locally-specific references or lingo).

There is now no official minimum word count, but the examiners stop reading after 1600 words. (Most examiners I’ve talked to say you should shoot for at least 1400 and no less than 1200 unless you are the most brilliant, succinct writer the world has ever seen).

There are some other important and helpful resources (see screen shot)

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Please do Steps 1-6 of The “STEPS TO YOUR ESSAY” 

2 Great Resources:

Ric Sims (@sharpcomposer ) is the Chief Deputy Assessor and my trainer for TOK. HERE ARE HIS GUIDELINES (includes timeframe)

also check out Tim Woods’ Top 10 Tips for Scoring High on the TOK Essay AND “How to Structure a TOK Essay” , and “How to Meet all TOK Essay Requirements”

You will be given class time in which to work on this, particularly when  I’ll be in London late October.


You can read the amazing pdf. written by Richard van de Lagemaat (author of the main TOK book and curriculum writer for TOK).

It’s located under “Essay Resources”, a submenu in the Prescribed Title link to the left

I’ve pulled out the main points and created 6 vlogs (major topics above each video) – (created in 2012, so a bit out of date but still relevant)

Vlog #1: Overview

Vlog #2: Introduction, Paragraphs, Conclusion, Citations

Vlog #3: Content, Making it Personal, Definitions

Vlog #4: Arguments, Evidence, Counterarguments, Avoiding Major Errors

Vlog #5: Depth and Breadth

Vlog #6: Examples to Avoid, Quotations, Plagiarism


HERE IS @Braddo and #tokrew12 Planning Doc

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(from the TOK Subject Guide)

RUBRIC (Click to enlarge)

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DESCRIPTORS (from Subject Guide)

9-10 Excellent

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7-8 Very Good

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5-6 Satisfactory

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3-4 Basic

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1-2 Elementary

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TITLE CHOSEN: Please shoot for Oct. 14 for all – you can choose in Managebac

PLAN DUE: Week of Oct. 20

DRAFT WRITING (in class): late Oct- Nov.15

DRAFT #1 DUE: Week of Nov 17-21 (before Fall Break)

REVISION PERIOD: Nov. 22- Jan. 30

UPLOAD to IBO: FEB (by appt)

IA #2 Presentation Planning


As we embark on our 2nd “stab” at the official TOK presentation IA), there are some helpful planning documents that will keep you on track. Remember that officially, a Planning Doc must be turned in via Managebac to the IB (we’ll go over this in class). If we are moderated your grade will be determined by your written plan, which can be no more than 500 words, should be size 12 font, may include relevant diagrams and looks like this:

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(note: continuous prose or bullet points)

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Basically, you will be asked to evaluate yourself and you will be evaluated by the TOK teacher. We’ll also add the “backchannelling” component via Twitter, so that members of the audience can give you feedback and become more engaged.

*Your presentation will be recorded.

Focus on:

1. What is the real -life situation? (see for examples)

2. What are the knowledge questions? (Must be in the form of an open-ended question) *Refer to the UNIT GUIDES on this blog

3. How do you plan to deal with/ treat the knowledge issues? This includes content but also more practical things like will you have an activity for the class, etc.? For example, 


4. Which Ways of Knowing apply and how will you link them to your real-world situation in order to address the knowledge question (recommended to use 2 of the 8)?

5. What’s the “SO WHAT?” –  your conclusion must show the relevance of this, even beyond the real-life situation.

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Of course, there is much more to this, so I hope these PDFS will help.

tok_presentation_howto tokpresentationguide_copy


Great places to start:

PBS Idea Channel on YouTube

example: Is Google Knowledge?



above : sketchnotes from @Braddo using Paper53 app


CHOOSING your TOPIC: One suggestion is to choose an AOK or WOK you enjoy, then narrow in on one of the open-ended questions available on the Unit Plans (which can be accessed as files in ManageBac for this course).

PERUSE the Diigo and Delicious lists of things I’ve curated about all kinds of AOKs, WOKS, and  Knowledge Issues (and this one from Mr. Ferlazzo). Choose ONE that seems interesting to you both and prepare a presentation for the class. You may use any sort of presentation tool such as Google Slideshow, PowerPoint, film, skit  Prezi, Projeqt, Vuvox, etc.

RECOMMENDED for FINDING REAL-LIFE SITUATIONS: the links at the bottom of this site as well as a new one-


– How has technology changed the functioning and role of the senses? (Sense Perception as a WOK)

– Can a machine have emotion? (Emotion as a WOK)

– How do stereotypes and prejudice relate to reason? (Reason as a WOK)

– What role does remix and mashup – collective creativity and transformation – play in the ARTS?

– Are humans the only species who make and appreciate ART (including music)? How do we know?

– How does LITERATURE (ARTS) help us understand human nature?

– How should HISTORY be taught?

– What does symmetry have to do with notions of beauty (MATH)?

– How has technology affected the NATURAL SCIENCES?

– How do HUMAN SCIENTISTS identify patterns in human behavior and what are the implications of understanding those patterns?

– Does History show we’ve made MORAL progress (ETHICS)?

***Refer to the “Presentation” section in your TOK textbook, pp.276-281.  For MORE TIPS, SEE:

***This year pleas refrain from having partners in another class – it is just too difficult to schedule

You should do the following in your presentation:

a. give us an overview of the article or video

b. identify at least 1 knowledge question or issue in the article or video (***should be in the form of an open-ended question, with the question about knowledge itself)

c. incorporate examples from personal life (knower’s perspective), or show clear personal involvement

d. discuss the implications of knowledge

e. show different perspectives and/or connections to other subjects (Areas of Knowledge) or Ways of Knowing – the linking questions above have some categories

f. try spend at least 10 minutes per person talking/presenting (that is a TOk requirement)

PLANNING DOC (download PDF in MB)


1. Cover different points of view / perspectives. For example, one groups looking at homosexuality had the following point of views: Legal, Religious, Scientific.

2. Cover the facts quickly and get on to the actual knowledge question. (remember the focus is analysis not information dissemination)

3. Be creative and incorporate stunning visuals, short but relevant video or audio clips, activities, etc. but be sure to balance with your “meaty” analysis and exploration of the knowledge issue.

ASSESSMENT (from Subject Guide)

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RUBRIC (from the Subject Guide)

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DESCRIPTORS (from the Subject Guide)

9-10 Excellent

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7-8 Very Good

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5-6 Satisfactory

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3-4 Basic

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1-2 Elementary

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As you know, presentation schedule is tight and the dates are already on MB. We start on Monday, Dec. 1 and finish (hopefully) by Dec. 8 with optional catch up during finals week.

TOPIC DUE (meet with teacher during a class period where you will have time to work on the plan): Monday, Oct. 6 and classes to follow

PLAN DUE: Wednesday, Oct. 8 and classes to follow


***Please keep in mind we will be working on the TOK essay draft simultaneously.


Expressionistic Emotion Cinemagraph


“A Cinemagraph is an image that contains within itself a living moment that allows a glimpse of time to be experienced and preserved endlessly”

– from

Cinemagraphs are an unusual juxtaposition between film and still imagery and are created with special apps, some of which can be found here:




Your creative task

1. Choose 1-2 emotions from these lists:

One idea is to choose to contrasting emotions, such as Anger and Fear, or Pride and Shame. Another would be to explore the nuances or levels of 1 emotion, such as Tense/Nervous versus Terrified/Panic-Stricken as levels of “Afraid”.

1. Create at least 2 cinemagraphs for each  (post to blog). Your images should exemplify the mood/feeling / emotion, much like Munch’s Scream” painting.

2. You may wish to title your images or use simply the emotion name.