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Tess Porter

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

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

 

Minnesota: Investigating a Place

<p>This teacher's guide uses stamps, photographs, paintings, objects, videos, and music to explore the history and culture of Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes. In the classroom, these resources can be used by students to investigate two essential questions: How do you define Minnesota as a place? What does it mean to be a Minnesotan? </p><p>Supporting questions and activity implementation ideas are located under this collection's Information (i) button.<br /></p>
Tess Porter
54
 

The Classical Origin of Iconic American Symbols

<p>In this student activity, analyze how and why iconic symbols of America, such as the Capitol Building and the United States Seal, were inspired by Greek and Roman art and architecture.  </p> <p>Explores the big ideas:</p> <p></p> <ul><li>How were symbols of America influenced by those of Ancient Greece and Rome? </li><li>What might this desire to associate America with historic, successful democracies say about early American hopes for their new nation?</li></ul><p></p> <p>Includes: architecture, a seal, portraiture, a video, a primary source letter, discussion questions, and an opportunity to learn more through the full digitized text of "The Ruins of Palmyra," a publication that heavily inspired early American neoclassical architecture.</p> <p>Keywords: greece, symbolism, classic, classical</p>
Tess Porter
12
 

Shoes: Exploring Culture, History, Place, and Innovation

<p>Teacher's guide for using shoes to explore culture, history, place, and innovation. Includes images of thirty shoes and three different strategies, located at the end of the collection, for using these objects in the classroom. </p> <p>Strategies include: a small-group object analysis activity; a poster, "If You Walked in My Shoes," introducing students to basic primary source analysis questions through six pairs of shoes; and a vocabulary exercise for ESL learners.</p>
Tess Porter
33
 

Symbolism, Story, and Art: Achelous & Hercules

<p>A teacher's guide to the 1947 mural "Achelous and Hercules," by Thomas Hart Benton, which retells an Ancient Greek myth in the context of the American Midwest. Includes the painting, a pdf of the myth "Achelous and Hercules," a website, and video discussions by curators and educators. The website includes an interactive exploring areas of interest on the piece, as well as lesson and activity ideas for the classroom.</p> <p>Lesson & Activity Pathways: how to analyze symbol and meaning in art and writing, Ancient Greek myth, creative writing, and creating art.</p> <p>Keywords: greece, post-war, painting, agriculture, marshall plan, truman, missouri river</p>
Tess Porter
5
 

Looking at Ancient Civilization through Objects

<p>This teacher's guide provides suggestions for facilitating student investigation of archaeological remains. Includes examples of objects to use (Ancient Chinese oracle bones) and a handout on artifact analysis that adapts close reading strategies to explore cultural objects. This concept can be replicated for other artifacts and cultures.</p> <p>Use the handout to brainstorm supporting questions for students - ie. "What knowledge or experience did the maker have?" "Who were the intended users?" Answers to these questions give students the knowledge to answer larger, compelling questions, like "What can archaeological remains reveal about early Chinese urban society?" </p> <p>Keywords: China, archaeology, archaeologist</p>
Tess Porter
6
 

New Orleans & Place

<p>Includes iconic people, places, and things associated with New Orleans. In the classroom, these resources can be used by students to investigate two essential questions: How do you define New Orleans as a place? What does it mean to be a New Orleanian? </p><p>Supporting questions and activity implementation ideas are located under this collection's Information (i) button.</p><p>Keywords: louisiana</p>
Tess Porter
28
 

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
 

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
 

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