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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

 

American Ingenuity, Innovation, and Enterprise: National Air and Space Museum Seminar Resources

<p>This collection previews the fourth seminar of the 2016 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series. Fellows will visit the National Air and Space Museum to learn about the design and development of space suits, as well as current conservation challenges and strategies. Two National Air and Space Museum staff members will lead this seminar: Cathy Lewis, Curator of International Space Programs and Spacesuits, and Lisa Young, Objects Conservator.</p> <p>Included in this collection: presenter bios, presentation description, and resources for attendees to explore before attending the session. The first resource in the collection - "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Using X-radiographs of the National Air and Space Museum's Spacesuit Collection to Promote Preservation" - is required. The other resources are not required, but will help prepare for discussion the day of the seminar.</p><p>#MCteach<br /></p>
Tess Porter
17
 

American Ingenuity, Innovation, and Enterprise: National Museum of American History Seminar Resources

<p>This collection previews the fifth and final seminar of the 2016 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series. Fellows will visit the National Museum of American History to explore the issues and topics surrounding the upcoming exhibition, "American Democracy: A Great Leap of Faith." Harry Rubenstein, Curator and Chair of the Division of Political History, will lead the seminar.</p> <p>Included in this collection: bio of presenter, presentation description, and resources for attendees to explore before attending the session. The first two resources in this collection - the video "Bill Geist with curators Harry Rubenstein and Larry Bird on the campaign trail, 1996" and image "Where is Democracy" with attached quiz question - are required. The others are not, but will help fellows prepare for discussion the day of the seminar.</p><p>#MCteach<br /></p>
Tess Porter
7
 

Investigating: Civil War Portraits

<p>In this student activity, students will investigate nine portraits of people involved in the Civil War, both from the Union and the Confederacy. Through these portraits, students will gain an understanding of: experiences of people on both sides of the war; why these people are seen as historically significant; and how portraiture can communicate how a person wanted to be seen, or how others wanted them to be seen. Included with each portrait is a video that explains the historical significance of the person depicted.  Activity extension ideas can be found by clicking "Read More."</p> <p>Big Ideas: </p> <ul><li>Why are these people, and the developments they shaped, seen as historically significant? </li><li>How does portraiture communicate how a person wanted to be seen, or how others wanted them to be seen?</li></ul><p>Keywords: thomas stonewall jackson, william tecumseh sherman, john pelham, elmer e ellsworth, george armstrong custer, jefferson davis, abraham lincoln, clara barton</p>
Tess Porter
10
 

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
 

Bracero Program: Unveiling Stories

<p>In this activity, students will examine photographs documenting the Bracero Program, the largest guest-worker program in US history. Started in 1942 as a temporary war measure to address labor demands in agriculture and railroads, the program allowed Mexican nationals to take temporary agricultural work in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and 24 other states. By the time the program ended in 1964, over 4.6 million contracts were awarded. </p> <p>Using two Project Zero Global Thinking Routines - "Unveiling Stories" and "The 3 Ys" - students will analyze the stories these photographs tell about the experiences of braceros in this program, and the impact of these stories in multiple contexts. Additional resources (primary sources, a digital exhibition, and an article) and information on how to use these routines in the classroom can by found by clicking <em>Read More »</em>.</p> <p>Keywords: mexican, immigration, work, migration, migrant workers, agriculture, reform, politics, government, leonard nadel, photojournalism, activity, inquiry strategy, global competency, global competence, latino, chicano, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, 1940s, 40s, 1950s, 50s, 1960s, 60s </p> <p>#LatinoHAC #EthnicStudies</p>
Tess Porter
37
 

Ancient Egyptian Stelae: See Think Wonder

<p>Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "See Think Wonder," this activity explores multiple stelae, or funerary markers, from Ancient Egypt. Through analysis of these stelae, students will gain an understanding of: the different functions of stelae, their common characteristics, and how they fit into the larger picture of Ancient Egyptian funerary practice and afterlife beliefs.</p> <p>Keywords: stela, stele, steles, stelai, memorial, commemorative, inquiry strategy, archaeology</p> <p><em>#historicalthinking</em></p>
Tess Porter
5
 

Civil Rights Sculpture: Claim Support Question

<p>Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "Claim Support Question," a routine for clarifying truth claims, students will examine a portrait of Rosa Parks, a prominent civil rights activist whose refusal to give up her bus seat to a white passenger prompted the 1955-56 Montgomery bus boycott. After discussing the portrait with their peers, students will learn more about the arrest this sculpture depicts by reading the original police report, with notes by a Smithsonian curator.</p> <p>Created for the 2016 National Portrait Gallery Summer Teacher Institute.</p> <p>Keywords: african-american, black, civil rights movement, female, woman, women, segregation, NAACP, justice, arrest, #BecauseOfHerStory</p>
Tess Porter
3
 

Reading Companion: Robots

This collection is a reading companion to two articles - "Robot Zoo" [Ask; Nov 2011] and "Me, Myself, and My Android Twin" [Muse; Nov 2012]. Students are asked to investigate these articles, alongside other objects, videos, and articles, to examine what issues robot designers are attempting to address with their inventions, and how they are trying to address them. At the end of the activity, students will be asked to write a paragraph or more explaining which inventions they think are the most important and why, citing resources in this collection as evidence.
Tess Porter
21
 

Walt Whitman: Examining Portraiture

<p>This teacher's guide provides portraits and analysis questions to enrich students' examination of Walt Whitman, an American poet, essayist, and journalist. 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 Close, Intimate Look at Walt Whitman," an article about the final portrait in this collection that may be used as a lesson extension.</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 he wanted to be seen, or how others wanted him to be seen? Consider for what purpose these portraits were created.</li><li>Having read one of his poems, does the portrait capture your image of Walt Whitman? Why, or why not?</li><li>If you were creating your own portrait of Walt Whitman, what characteristics would you emphasize, and why?</li></ul><p>Keywords: new york, ny, leaves of grass, humanist, writer</p>
Tess Porter
9
 

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
 

William Faulkner: Examining Portraiture

<p>This teacher's guide provides portraits and analysis questions to enrich students' examination of William Faulkner, an American author and Nobel Prize laureate. 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 caricature, stamp, etc.).</li><li>Having read one of his stories, does the portrait capture your image of William Faulkner? Why, or why not?</li><li>If you were creating your own portrait of William Faulkner, what characteristics would you emphasize, and why?</li></ul><p>Keywords: mississippi, ms, the sound and the fury, writer</p>
Tess Porter
6