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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

 

Social Justice: National Museum of African American History and Culture Resources

<p>This collection previews the first seminar of the 2017 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series, <em>A Journey Through the African American Lens</em>. Five National Museum of African American History and Culture staff members will lead this event: Kinshasha Holman Conwill, Dr. Rex Ellis, Dr. Jacquelyn Serwer, Dr. Michèle Gates Moresi, and Mary Elliott.</p> <p>Resources and reflection questions included in this collection have been chosen by the presenters for participants to explore, consider, and answer before the seminar itself. Fellows will be asked to discuss their answers to the reflection questions during the seminar. </p> <p>#MCteach</p>
Tess Porter
41
 

Social Justice: National Museum of American History Resources

<p>This collection previews the third seminar of the 2017 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series, <em>American Democracy in the Trump Age</em>. Harry Rubenstein, Curator and Chair of the Division of Political History at the National Museum of American History, will lead this event.</p> <p>Resources and questions included in this collection have been chosen by the presenter for participants to explore, consider, and answer before the seminar itself. </p> <p>#MCteach</p>
Tess Porter
7
 

Social Justice: National Museum of the American Indian Resources

<p>This collection previews the second seminar of the 2017 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series, <em>The Native American Struggle for Treaty Rights and Tribal Sovereignty.</em> Three National Museum of the American Indian staff members will lead this event: Mark Hirsch, David Penney, and Colleen Call Smith.</p> <p>Resources included in this collection have been chosen by the presenters for participants to explore before the seminar itself.</p> <p>#MCteach</p>
Tess Porter
7
 

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
 

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
 

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
 

Visual Connections between Buddhism and Ancient Greece

<p>Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "See Think Wonder," this activity investigates the cultural connections between Ancient Greece, Rome, and Gandhara* as seen through a sculpture of the Buddha created in the 2nd century CE. Buddhist sculptures from Gandhara are significant not only because they show the extent of Alexander the Great's influence on Asia, but also because they are some of the first human depictions of the Buddha in the history of Buddhist art.</p> <p>Even without a deep knowledge of the art of this period, students can make visual observations and comparisons that reveal the blending of Asian and Greco-Roman culture in this particular region.</p> <p>*Gandhara is a region in what is now modern Afghanistan and Pakistan.</p> <p>Keywords: greek, kushan, mathura, india, inquiry strategy, classical, roman, gautama, siddhārtha, siddhartha, shakyamuni, lakshanas, signs of the buddha</p> <p><em>#visiblethinking</em><br /></p>
Tess Porter
6
 

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
 

What Makes You Say That?: Civil War Photograph

<p>Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "What makes you say that?," students will investigate a photograph from the Civil War taken by the studio of Mathew Brady, one of the most prominent American photographers of the 19th century.  The Civil War was the first major war captured on camera and photographs, like this one, played a pivotal role in shaping public perceptions of the conflict.</p> <p>This activity can be used as an entry point into studying soldiers' experiences during the Civil War, photography's effect on public perspectives about war, and more.  Resources to extend this activity include: a Smithsonian American Art Museum lesson plan investigating this and other photographs from the Civil War, a blog post discussing connections between Civil War photography and President Abraham Lincoln, a Smithsonian Magazine article about Civil War photographer Alexander Gardner, a Learning Lab collection on Alexander Gardner's <em>Photographic Sketchbook of the War, </em>and an article discussing the National Portrait Gallery's recent exhibition <em>The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now</em>.</p> <p><em>Keywords: photo, battlefield, inquiry strategy</em></p>
Tess Porter
8