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Tess Porter

Digital Content Producer
Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
Smithsonian Staff

I'm the Digital Content Producer at the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access. Here, I research and develop learning resources focused on the topics of history, art, and culture for projects both within the Smithsonian and in collaboration with other institutions. I also train educators on how to create their own customized content in the Lab.

learninglab@si.edutwitter.com/smithsonianlab

Tess Porter's collections

 

Yup'ik Parka: Object Analysis

<p>This introductory student activity explores the Yup'ik gut parka, a type of garment created from the intestines of sea mammals to protect sea hunters from wind, rain, and stormy seas. The Yup'ik, native to Alaska and coastal Canada, used these not only for hunting but also spiritual occasions, such as religious ceremonies. Collection includes: two parkas, one for hunting and one for ceremonies; a map of the geographic boundaries of the Yup'ik before the arrival of Euro-American settlers; and a video of modern Yup'ik discussing the traditional process of creating these garments and the importance of conserving and continuing this tradition today.</p> <p>Collection can be used as an introductory activity to an investigation of: Yup'ik culture, Yup'ik relationships to their environment, Arctic cultures, Native American innovations, or the importance of continuing traditions.<br /></p> <p>Keywords: american indian, sea mammals, gutskin, conservation, yupik<br /></p>
Tess Porter
5
 

Slow Looking: Untitled, by El Anatsui

<p>In this collection, students will explore an artwork by El Anatsui, a contemporary artist whose recent work addresses global ideas about the environment, consumerism, and the social history and memory of the "stuff" of our lives. After looking closely and exploring the artwork using an adapted version of Project Zero's "Parts, Purposes, and Complexities" routine, students will create a "diamante" poem using their observations of the artwork and knowledge they gained about El Anatsui's artistic influences. Additional resources about El Anatsui, how to look at African Art, and Project Zero Thinking Routines are located at the end of the collection.</p> <p><em>This collection was created for the "Smithsonian Learning Lab, Focus on Global Arts and Humanities" session at the 2019 New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association (NJPSA) Arts Integration Leadership Institute. </em></p> <p>Keywords: nigeria, african art, textile, poetry, creative writing, analysis</p>
Tess Porter
20
 

Flashcard Activity: Tools and Innovation

<p>This collection traces innovation in various types of tools over time.  Approach in small groups or as a classroom to have students explore the essential questions: What makes something innovative?  How do you define innovation? </p> <p>Supporting questions and activity implementation ideas are located under this collection's Information (i) button.  This activity works equally well online or using printed flashcards (see <a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/tools-and-innovation/R998xYb5Lbjw4bHE#r/104669">the resource tile</a>). <br /></p> <p>Keywords: invention, flash cards, conceptual understanding</p>
Tess Porter
37
 

Bessie Smith: Examining Portraiture

<p>This teacher's guide provides portraits and analysis questions to enrich students' examination of Bessie Smith, the "Empress of the Blues" and one of the most influential blues singers in history. Includes the video "Defining Portraiture: How are portraits both fact and fiction?" and the National Portrait Gallery's "<em>Reading" Portraiture Guide for Educators, </em>both of which provide suggestions and questions for analyzing portraiture. Also includes a video clip of Bessie Smith performing "St. Louis Blues" in 1929 and a post from the National Museum of African American History and Culture discussing her and other LGBTQ African Americans of the Harlem Renaissance.</p> <p>Consider:</p> <ul><li>What do these portraits have in common? How are they different?</li><li>How are these portraits both fact and fiction?</li><li>How do these portraits reflect how she wanted to be seen, or how others wanted her to be seen? Consider for what purpose these portraits were created.</li><li>Having listened her music, does the portrait capture your image of Bessie Smith? Why, or why not?</li><li>If you were creating your own portrait of Bessie Smith, what characteristics would you emphasize, and why?</li></ul><p>Keywords: singer, musician, 20s, 30s, American, Tennessee, #BecauseOfHerStory, #SmithsonianMusic</p>
Tess Porter
11
 

Dong Kingman

<p>This collection focuses on Dong Kingman (1911-2000), an American watercolorist best known for his urban and landscape paintings, magazine covers, and scenery work for multiple films. Dong Kingman was born in Oakland, California, to Chinese immigrants and moved to Hong Kong when he was a child. There, he studied both Asian and European painting techniques before returning to the United States during the Great Depression. Artwork in this collection includes works created for the Works Progress Administration, the NASA Art Program, and Time magazine. Also included is a short documentary, directed by two-time Academy Award winner James Wong Howe, and Dong Kingman's obituary from the New York Times.</p> <p>This collection is not comprehensive but rather provides a launching point for research and study. <br /></p> <p><em>This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.</em></p> <p>Keywords: chinese american, china<br /></p> <p>#APA2018<br /></p>
Tess Porter
21
 

Hawaiian Monarchs

<p>This topical collection includes resources related to the eight monarchs of the Kingdom of Hawaii.  In order of succession, the monarchs are: Kamehameha I (r. 1810 - 1819); Kamehameha II (r. 1819 - 1824); Kamehameha III (r. 1825 -  1854); Kamehameha IV (r. 1855 - 1863); Kamehameha V (r. 1863 - 1872); Lunalilo (r. 1873 - 1874); Kalākaua (r. 1874 - 1891); and Liliʻuokalani (r. 1891 - 1893).  </p> <p>The Kingdom of Hawaii was established as a constitutional monarchy in 1810 by King Kamehameha I.  In 1893, a coup led by American businessmen driven by sugar and pineapple business interests in the Hawaiian islands overthrew Queen Lili'uokalani.  Despite native protests and Lili'uokalani's efforts to reclaim the throne, the United States annexed Hawaii as a territory in 1898.  Hawaii became an American state in 1959.</p> <p>This collection is not comprehensive but rather provides a launching point for further research and study.</p> <p><em>This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. </em></p> <p>Keywords: Kamamalu, Emma, Kapi'olani, Kapiolani, Kalakaua, Liliuokalani, Hawaiian, royals, royalty</p> <p>#APA2018</p>
Tess Porter
37
 

National History Day: American Immigrant Experiences

<p>This collection brings together <a href="https://edsitement.neh.gov/">EDSITEment</a> and Smithsonian resources to support the initial research into a project for National History Day.  While originally created for the 2019 theme, "Triumph and Tragedy in History," resources found in this collection are useful for researching other National History Day themes.  </p> <p>These resources - including objects, documents, websites, and articles - reveal challenges and opportunities experienced by American immigrants in the 19th to mid-20th centuries.  Resources highlight hardships that compelled people to leave their homelands, difficulties immigrants faced upon arrival, and ways they overcame obstacles to build new lives and communities in America.  The second tile of this collection contains questions to help with the analysis of photograph, document, artwork, portrait, and object resources. </p> <p>The history of immigration in America is an immense topic, and this collection addresses only aspects of it.  Use this collection to brainstorm project topics, find connected resources, and as a launching point for further research.</p> <p>This collection was created in collaboration with <a href="https://edsitement.neh.gov/">EDSITEment</a>, a website for K-12 educators from the National Endowment for the Humanities.</p> <p>Share your National History Day collections and let us know what you think! Write to us on Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/EDSITEment">@EDSITEment</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/smithsonianlab">@SmithsonianLab</a>, #NHD2019. If you publish a collection on your National History Day topic, be sure to enter #NHD2019 in the description!</p> <p><em>Tags: 1800s, 1900s angel island, ellis island, immigration test, community, prejudice, irish, jewish, syrian, lebanese, arab, italian, mexican, german, greek, bohemian, czech, slovenian, know nothing, triangle shirtwaist factory fire, swedish, chinese exclusion act, japanese american incarceration, internment, bracero program, stories project, #NHD</em></p>
Tess Porter
123
 

National History Day: World War I

<p>This collection brings together <a href="https://edsitement.neh.gov/">EDSITEment</a> and Smithsonian resources to support the initial research into a project for National History Day.  While originally created for the 2019 theme, "Triumph and Tragedy in History," resources found in this collection are useful for researching other National History Day themes.  </p> <p>These resources - including photographs, letters, artwork, lesson plans, and articles - explore the costs and consequences of America’s involvement in World War I and its complex legacies in the decades following. Resources highlight Woodrow Wilson and his foreign policy, the roles of African American soldiers during and after the war, artwork by soldiers and government-sponsored artists depicting the psychological effects of the battlefield, letters written by soldiers to those back home, the physical costs of war and the triumphs of medical innovation, and the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, which resulted in the deaths of 1,198 civilians. The second tile of this collection contains questions to help with the analysis of photograph, document, artwork, portrait, and object resources. </p> <p>By no means is this collection comprehensive; instead, it provides a launching point for further research.</p> <p>This collection was created in collaboration with <a href="https://edsitement.neh.gov/">EDSITEment</a>, a website for K-12 educators from the National Endowment for the Humanities.</p> <p>Share your National History Day collections and let us know what you think! Write to us on Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/EDSITEment">@EDSITEment</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/smithsonianlab">@SmithsonianLab</a>, #NHD2019. If you publish a collection on your National History Day topic, be sure to enter #NHD2019 in the description!</p> <p><em>Tags: the great war, </em><em>wwi, ww1, world war one, world war 1, military, perspective, 20th century, 1900s, american expeditionary forces, aef, woodrow wilson, buffalo soldiers, 92nd infantry division, 93rd infantry division, african-american, black, harlem hellfighters, art, horace pippin, claggett wilson, harvey thomas dunn, william james aylward, anna coleman ladd, prosthetic, rms lusitania, postcard, form letter, #NHD</em></p>
Tess Porter
84
 

National History Day: American Industry

<p>This collection brings together <a href="https://edsitement.neh.gov/">EDSITEment</a> and Smithsonian resources to support the initial research into a project for National History Day.  While originally created for the 2019 theme, "Triumph and Tragedy in History," resources found in this collection are useful for researching other National History Day themes. <br /></p> <p>These resources - including photographs, objects, portraits, lesson plans, and articles - explore triumphs and tragedies in American industrialization from the late 18th century through the early 20th century.  Resources highlight influential industrialists called "captains of industry" by some and "robber barons" by others, catastrophes that occurred as a result of rapid industrialization, labor leaders who fought successfully for the rights of laborers dismal conditions, the origins of child labor laws, leading inventors and their inventions, and other important topics. The second tile of this collection contains questions to help with the analysis of photograph, document, artwork, portrait, and object resources. </p> <p>By no means is this collection comprehensive; instead, it provides a launching point for further research. </p> <p>This collection was created in collaboration with <a href="https://edsitement.neh.gov/">EDSITEment</a>, a website for K-12 educators from the National Endowment for the Humanities.</p> <p>Share your National History Day collections and let us know what you think! Write to us on Twitter: <a href="https://twitter.com/EDSITEment">@EDSITEment</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/smithsonianlab">@SmithsonianLab</a>, #NHD2019. If you publish a collection on your National History Day topic, be sure to enter #NHD2019 in the description!</p> <p><em>Tags: strike, protest, union, andrew carnegie, john d. rockefeller, j.p. morgan, cornelius vanderbilt, henry clay frick, helen frick, andrew w. mellon, newsies, newsboys, child labor reform, thomas alva edison, incandescent lamp, nikola tesla, electric motor, electric power, alexander graham bell, telephone, christopher latham sholes, c. lathan sholes, carlos glidden, samuel soule, typewriter, triangle shirtwaist factory fire, pinkerton national detective agency, matewan massacre, wall street bombing of 1920, boston molassses disaster, asa philip randolph, a. philip randolph, john llewellyn lewis, john l. lewis, frances perkins, samuel gompers i.l.g.w.u, international ladies garment workers union, david dubinsky, company towns, #NHD</em></p>
Tess Porter
68
 

Selena: Examining Portraiture

<p>This teacher's guide provides portraits and analysis questions to enrich students' examination of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, an American singer known as the "queen of Tejano music." Includes the video "Defining Portraiture: How are portraits both fact and fiction?" and the National Portrait Gallery's "<em>Reading" Portraiture Guide for Educators, </em>both of which provide suggestions and questions for analyzing portraiture. Also includes videos of educators and curators talking about her life and accomplishments, as well as an outfit she wore during performances.</p> <p>Consider:</p> <ul><li>What do these portraits have in common? How are they different?</li><li>How are these portraits both fact and fiction?</li><li>How do these portraits reflect how she wanted to be seen, or how others wanted her to be seen? Consider for what purpose these portraits were created.</li><li>Having listened to her music, does the portrait capture your image of Selena? Why, or why not?</li><li>If you were creating your own portrait of Selena, what characteristics would you emphasize, and why?</li></ul><p>Keywords: singer, musician, texas, model, fashion designer, entertainer, #BecauseOfHerStory, #SmithsonianMusic</p>
Tess Porter
8
 

Photographs of the Great Depression: Unveiling Stories

<p>This activity analyzes the stories told by photographs of the <strong></strong>Resettlement Administration (RA) and Farm Security Administration (FSA) programs, which ran from 1935 to 1937 and 1937 to 1942 respectively. These photographs were taken to document the conditions and hardships experienced by Americans across the country during the Great Depression, as well as the success of relief services implemented by these two programs. Published widely in newspapers, magazines, books, and exhibitions, these photographs helped shape the public's perception and memory of this difficult time period.</p> <p>Using two Project Zero Global Thinking Routines - "Unveiling Stories" and "The 3 Ys" - students will uncover the stories and perspectives portrayed by these photographs in multiple contexts, from the personal to the global. Additional resources (photographer interviews and an article) and information on how to use these routines in the classroom can by found by clicking <em>Read More »</em>.<br /></p> <p>RA &amp; FSA photographers included in this collection: Carl Mydans, Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, and Marion Post Wolcott.</p> <p>Keywords: poverty, rural, urban, roy stryker, new deal, inquiry strategy, global competence, global competency, 1930s, 30s, dust bowl, photojournalism</p><p><em>#historicalthinking</em></p>
Tess Porter
20
 

The Bikini Atoll and Operation Crossroads: Unveiling Stories

<p>In this activity, students will analyze photographs documenting the exodus of Bikini islanders from Bikini Atoll prior to Operation Crossroads, a pair of nuclear weapons tests and the first detonations of nuclear devices since the bombing of Nagasaki. These photographs were taken by Carl Mydans and were published in the LIFE Magazine article, "Atomic Bomb Island," on March 25, 1946. </p> <p>Using two Project Zero Global Thinking Routines - "Unveiling Stories" and "The 3 Ys" - students will analyze the stories these photographs communicate about the experiences of the Bikini islanders and America's perspective on military advancement after WWII. They will also consider the perspectives presented by these photographs, in multiple contexts from the personal to the global. Additional resources (primary sources and the original article) and information on using this collection in the classroom can by found by clicking <em>Read More ».</em></p> <p>Keywords: atomic testing, atomic bomb, operation crossroads, bikini islands, bikini atoll, rongerik, able test, baker test, nuclear bomb, photojournalism, inquiry strategy, global competence, global competency, 1940s, 40s, 1950s, 50s, 1960s, 60s </p> <p><br /></p>
Tess Porter
17