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Tess Porter

Digital Content Producer
Smithsonian Office of Educational Technology
Smithsonian Staff

I'm the Digital Content Producer at the Smithsonian Office of Educational Technology. Here, I focus on the use of digital museum resources to support teaching and learning.  I train educators on using digital museum resources and the Smithsonian Learning Lab to support student learning, research and develop learning experiences in collaboration with educators at the Smithsonian and other cultural institutions, and support the development of new tools and features to improve the Lab.  I hold a B.A. in Anthropology and a B.A. in Art History from University Colorado Boulder, and am currently pursuing an M.S. in Museums and Digital Culture at Pratt Institute. 

learninglab@si.edutwitter.com/smithsonianlab

Tess Porter's collections

 

Tennessee Williams: Examining Portraiture

<p>This teacher's guide provides portraits and analysis questions to enrich students' examination of Tennessee Williams, an American playwright and Pulitzer Prize winner. 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.  </p> <p>Consider:</p><p></p><p></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 they wanted to be seen, or how others wanted them to be seen? Consider for what purpose these portraits were created (such as Time Magazine, stamp, etc.).</li><li>Having read one of his plays, does the portrait capture your image of Tennessee Williams? Why, or why not?</li><li>If you were creating your own portrait of Tennessee Williams, what characteristics would you emphasize, and why?</li></ul><p></p><p></p><p>Keywords: mississippi, ms, play, author, streetcar named desire, writer</p>
Tess Porter
7
 

Richard Wright: Examining Portraiture

<p>This teacher's guide provides portraits and analysis questions to enrich students' examination of Richard Wright, an American author whose works investigate the toll that racial prejudice exerted on society. 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.  </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 they wanted to be seen, or how others wanted them to be seen? Consider for what purpose these portraits were created (such as the stamp, etc.).</li><li>Having read one of his stories, does the portrait capture your image of Richard Wright? Why, or why not?</li><li>If you were creating your own portrait of Richard Wright, what characteristics would you emphasize, and why?</li></ul><p>Keywords: mississippi, ms, writer, native son</p>
Tess Porter
6
 

Homo floresiensis: Teaching Resources

<p>This topical collection gathers resources related to Homo floresiensis, commonly known as the Flores “Hobbit." H. floresiensis, was discovered in 2003, making it the second most recently discovered early human species. Contains a video, websites, a 3D interactive tour, and articles.</p><p>Keywords: physical anthropology</p>
Tess Porter
7
 

American Ingenuity, Innovation, and Enterprise: Opening Seminar Resources

<p>This collection previews the opening panel of the 2016 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series. Three Smithsonian staff members will speak at this event: Tricia Edwards of the National Museum of American History, Doug Herman of the National Museum of the American Indian, and Josh Bell of the National Museum of Natural History.</p> <p>Included in this collection: presenter bios, presentation titles and descriptions, and resources chosen by presenters for attendees to explore before attending the session. These resources are not required readings - instead, they provide guiding questions and background information to help prepare for discussion the day of the seminar.</p><p>#MCteach</p>
Tess Porter
12
 

American Ingenuity, Innovation, and Enterprise: National Portrait Gallery Seminar Resources

<p>This collection previews the third seminar of the 2016 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series. Fellows will visit the National Portrait Gallery, explore the exhibitions, and learn strategies for examining portraiture in the classroom. Two National Portrait Gallery staff members will lead this seminar: David C. Ward, Senior Historian, and Briana Zavadil White, Student and Teacher Program Manager.</p> <p>Included in this collection: presenter bios, presentation description, and resources chosen by the presenters for attendees to explore before attending the session. Fellows will be asked to discuss their answer to the quiz question during the seminar. Other resources are not required, but will help fellows prepare for discussion the day of the seminar.</p><p>#MCteach<br /></p>
Tess Porter
6
 

American Ingenuity, Innovation, and Enterprise: Renwick Gallery Seminar Resources

<p>This collection previews the first seminar of the 2016 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series. Fellows will visit the Renwick Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s branch for contemporary craft and decorative art, which recently re-opened in November 2015 after an extensive two-year renovation. Two Renwick Gallery staff members will speak at this event: Nicholas Bell, Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-In-Charge, and Nora Atkinson, Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft. </p> <p>Included in this collection: presenter bios, presentation descriptions, and resources chosen by presenters for attendees to explore before attending the session. These resources are not required, but will help fellows prepare for discussion the day of the seminar.</p><p>#MCteach<br /></p>
Tess Porter
8
 

Lalibela, Ethiopia: Teaching Resources

<p>This topical collection gathers teaching resources on Lalibela, a UNESCO site in Ethiopia famous for its rock-hewn churches built in the 12th and 13th centuries CE. Christianity was established early in Ethiopia, and orthodox Christianity became the official religion of the Axumite Kingdom in the 4th century CE. Includes a video, a website, objects, and a contemporary painting from the National Museum of African Art.</p> <p>Keywords: ethiopian, africa, african, christian</p>
Tess Porter
11
 

Social Justice: Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage Resources

<p>This collection previews the fourth seminar of the 2017 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series, <em>The Social Power of Music</em>. Two staff members from the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage will lead this event: James Deutsch and Atesh Sonneborn.</p> <p>Resources and questions included in this collection have been chosen by the presenters for participants to explore and consider before the seminar itself. Two resources, included at the end of the collection, are optional materials for those interested in addtional background information on Smithsonian Folkways.</p> <p>#MCteach</p>
Tess Porter
7
 

Social Justice: Opening Panel Resources

<p>This collection previews the opening panel of the 2017 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series, <em>Social Justice: America's Unfinished Story of Struggle, Strife, and Sacrifice</em>. Four Smithsonian staff members will speak at this event: Igor Krupnik (Arctic Studies Center, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History), Lanae Spruce (National Museum of African American History and Culture), Ranald Woodaman (Smithsonian Latino Center), and E. Carmen Ramos (Smithsonian American Art Museum).</p> <p>Each text annotation in this collection contains each speaker's presentation title, description, and bio. Following each text annotation are resources and questions chosen by the presenters for participants to consider before the panel itself.</p> <p>#MCteach<br /></p>
Tess Porter
17
 

Flashcard Activity: Conflict, Identity, and Place in American Art

<p>This collection contains a selection of artworks related to the themes of conflict, identity, and place.  They may be used for a variety of purposes; here, we use them as a catalyst for discussion.  In small groups or as a classroom, have students select one artwork they find meaningful or interesting and discuss the following:</p> <ol><li>Why did you pick this artwork?  </li><li>What do you see?  Name specific aspects of the artwork you notice.</li><li>What do you think about what you see?</li><li>What does this artwork make you wonder? </li><li><em>Optional</em>: How might the artwork connect to the themes of conflict, identity, and place?</li></ol> <p> </p> <p>This activity works equally well online or using printed flashcards (see <a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/flashcard-activity-conflict-identity-and-place-in-american-art/wCjeBXbgRgExR2Py#r/883001">the resource tile</a>).  You may also replace or pair the above activity with a Project Zero Thinking Routine found in the final section of the collection. </p> <p><em>This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection contains artwork selected by <a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/profile/666">Phoebe Hillemann</a>, Teacher Institutes Educator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, to be featured in the 2018 Smithsonian American Art Museum Summer Institute for Teachers, "Teaching the Humanities through Art."  The activity is adapted from Project Zero's See / Think / Wonder routine.</em></p> <p>Keywords: printable, flash card, project zero visible thinking routine, New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, NJPSA, saam</p>
Tess Porter
51
 

Pittsburgh & Place

<p>Includes iconic people, places, and things associated with Pittsburgh. In the classroom, these resources can be used by students to investigate two essential questions: How do you define Pittsburgh as a place? What does it mean to be a Pittsburgher? </p> <p>Supporting questions and activity implementation ideas can be found by clicking the Information (i) button in the upper right. </p> <p>Keywords: Pennsylvania </p>
Tess Porter
44
 

Ancient Greek Myth: Reinterpreted by African American Artists

<p>In this student activity, analyze the timelessness of myth through three works of art by modern African American artists. Each artist, inspired by Ancient Greek myth, retells stories and reinterprets symbols to explore personal and universal themes. Includes three works of art, summaries of the myths they reference, and discussion questions. Also includes a video about the artist Romare Bearden and his series 'Black Odyssey,' which details Bearden's artistic process, the significance of storytelling in his art, and the lasting importance of 'Black Odyssey.'</p> <p>Big Ideas: How does myth reflect the values of an individual or their culture? How do myths reflect the human experience? How do myths transcend time and place?</p> <p>Inspired by a Smithsonian American Art Museum lesson plan, located <a href="https://americanart.si.edu/education/k-12/resources/african-american">here</a>.</p> <p>Keywords: greece, alma thomas, bob thompson</p>
Tess Porter
6