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Kate Harris

Learning Lab Coordinator
Smithsonian Institution
Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)
Teacher/Educator
Language Arts And English, Civics, Literature, Cultures, Economics, Social Studies, Geography, Writing, US History, Arts, Other :
Learning Lab Coordinator

I'm a history-lover, art fan, and bookworm. I taught high school history (U.S. History and World Religions) for ten years in North Carolina, teach currently in Pittsburgh, PA,  and am working to help teachers make the most of this new resource!


Kate Harris's collections

 

Ekphrastic Poetry Lesson

<p>According to <a href="https://www.poetryfoundation.org/resources/learning/glossary-terms/detail/ekphrasis" target="_blank">the Poetry Foundation</a>, "An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the "action" of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning"</p><p>This collection is based on a lesson plan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which guides users through the process of using artwork to inform and inspire poetry. Strategies for developing original poems, sample ekphrastic (art-inspired) poems, and suggested artworks are included to stimulate thinking.</p><p>tags: creative writing, art, poetry, poems</p>
Kate Harris
9
 

Globalization and Cultural Diffusion

<p>This student activity focuses on the concepts of globalization and cultural diffusion. Students will look at a variety of artifacts and explain how they illustrate the two concepts and/or help answer the guiding questions below:</p><ul><li>What is globalization and how does it affect people and places?</li><li>What leads to cultural diffusion?</li></ul>
Kate Harris
10
 

Dogs in History

An ongoing, and mostly for fun, collection representing how our furry friends have been appreciated throughout history.
Kate Harris
23
 

Red Caps and Pullman Porters

<p>This is a topical collection of items relating to red caps and Pullman porters, positions associated with train travel during the 20th century.</p><p>Teachers and students might use this collection to explore how these jobs reinforced the social status of African-Americans while at the same time ensuring steady, reliable work and the rise of an African-American middle class. They also might consider the impact of A. Philip Randolph and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. How did the development of this labor union later impact the Civil Rights movement?</p><p>tags: amtrak, railroad, trains, sleeping car, segregation</p>
Kate Harris
19
 

Shinto Shrines

<p>How do religious rituals and practices reflect the core beliefs of a religion? This collection creates a virtual field trip to a Shinto shrine. Shinto is the indigenous religion of Japan, based on cultivating a positive relationship with the kami, or spirits present in the world. The religion of Shinto is centered around four affirmations. They are:</p><p>-Tradition and the family</p><p>-Love of nature</p><p>-Physical cleanliness</p><p>-Matsuri (festivals and ceremonies in honor of the kami)</p><p>Guiding questions include:</p><p>How are the four affirmations expressed in a visit to a Shinto shrine?</p><p>How does a shrine visit compare to visits to other houses of worship?</p><p>Tags: religion, culture, Japan, Shinto, shrines, analysis, compare contrast</p>
Kate Harris
14
 

The Mughal Empire

<p>What is the role of art and culture in the expansion of nations or empires? This collection traces the general history of the Mughal Empire and its influence on Indian art. The Mughals were a dynasty of Islamic leaders who conquered India in the 16th and 17th centuries. Their blend of influences and the stylistic preferences of the emperors created a distinct style. </p><p>Guiding questions to consider are:</p><p>How did the Mughals assert their authority over and create a sense of unity within India?</p><p>Why is art so important to powerful leaders, and how can they influence artistic styles?</p><p>Tags: religion, culture, syncretism, Islam, Muslim, India, Hindu, cause effect, chronology</p>
Kate Harris
14
 

The Emancipation Proclamation

<p>How did the writing of the Emancipation Proclamation reflect the political tensions of the time? This collection reviews the writing, impact, and legacy of the Emancipation Proclamation through videos, informational texts, and art. Students can work through the lesson independently and their understanding of the Emancipation Proclamation will be assessed via quiz questions. Students will be able to determine the short-term and long-term impacts of the Emancipation Proclamation.</p>
Kate Harris
17
 

Evaluating America's First System of Government

<p>What kind of government best suited the needs of the rebelling colonists? In this learner resource, students will learn about the Articles of Confederation and determine if they should be remembered positively or negatively. What were the strengths of the Articles? What were the weaknesses that led to the Constitutional Convention, and the writing of a new form of government, our current Constitution?</p><p>tags: articles of confederation, whiskey rebellion, northwest ordinance, declaration of independence</p>
Kate Harris
8
 

Frederick Douglass and "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?"

<p>In this collection, students will review the life of Frederick Douglass and learn about one of his most famous speeches, "The Meaning of Fourth of July for the Negro" (it is also commonly referred to as "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July). They will explore the strategies he uses to persuade and compare staged readings of the speech. Next, they will consider the central question posed by Douglass--how does the history of racial injustice in the United States affect our understanding of national symbols and what they mean? In addition, how do the diverse opinions of the many citizens of the United States present both challenges and opportunities for our nation? </p><p>Teachers may draw relevant connections to today and recent protests during the national anthem by professional, collegiate, and high school sports teams. </p>
Kate Harris
13
 

Communes, Counterculture, and the Back to the Land Movement

<p>This collection includes a variety of photographs taken by Lisa Law. Students will examine the photographs and a few artifacts and try to draw conclusions about the ways in which the commune or back-to-the-land movement challenged the norms of traditional United States society in the 1960s and 1970s. A link to an exhibit website is include and allows students to check their assumptions, and students are asked to compare elements of the counterculture with that of mainstream 1960s and 1970s culture. </p><p>Tags: counterculture, commune, hippie, granola, back to nature, communal living, co-op, cooperative, sixties, seventies, Woodstock, change over time, compare, ashram, silent majority</p>
Kate Harris
10
 

Numbers

<p>This collection is an example of how the Learning Lab could be used to create number or alphabet books for younger students. Students can search for the numbers and letters represented in the art, sculpture, and artifacts that exist throughout the Learning Lab. </p><p>Alternatively, students could be given a specific theme (animals, for example) and be tasked to find images representing the theme for each letter or number. Annotation (notebook tabs) can be used to include additional text or explanations. Quiz questions could be used to ask "how many ________ are in this image?".</p><p>Have fun!</p><p>Tags: reading, books, alphabet, numbers, counting, math, young learners, early childhood</p>
Kate Harris
17
 

The Five Pillars of Islam

<p>This collection includes artifacts and images that represent the Five Pillars of Islam. Students should complete the chart (included as the final resource) by first explaining what each pillar is. Then, after looking through the collection, they should identify an artifact that represents each one and explain why.</p><p>Tags: Islam, Muslim, religion, Muhammad, object analysis, practice, pilgrimage, hajj, fasting, Ramadan, Shahadah, zakat, tithe, salat, prayer</p>
Kate Harris
16