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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

 

Korean Art: Exploring Artistic Practices

<p>In this activity, students will explore the elements of art and principles of design used in celadon ceramics in order to understand the artistic practices and aesthetics of the Goryeo period (935-1392 CE), an era of great artistic and cultural achievement in Korea.  Many of the Goryeo celadons in the Freer|Sackler's collections originally adorned palaces, Buddhist temples, and private residences of the aristocracy.  Use this activity as an entry point into studying ceramics, Korean art, the Goryeo dynasty, and more.  Click <em>Read More </em>for ideas about how to prompt further inquiry using the Project Zero Visible Thinking Routine <em>"</em>Think / Puzzle / Explore" and resources on the elements of art and principles of design.</p> <p><a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/search?st=%23AsiaTeachers&amp;st_op=and&amp;item_type=collections" style="background-color:rgb(63,63,63);">#AsiaTeachers</a><br /></p> <p>Keywords: clay, pottery, sculpture, vessel, cheongja</p>
Tess Porter
13
 

Korean Burial Practices in the Goryeo Period

<p>In this activity, students will explore personal objects found in stone caskets from the Goryeo period (935-1392 CE), an era of great artistic and cultural achievement in Korea.  After looking closely at the types of objects found, students will consider why these particular objects may have been chosen to memorialize the deceased, what this may reveal about those who lived during the Goryeo period, and similarities and differences in how objects are used in the burial practices of other cultures.  Use this activity as an entry point into studying Korea during the Goryeo period, cross-cultural and cross-historical funerary practices, and more.</p> <p><a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/search?st=%23AsiaTeachers&amp;st_op=and&amp;item_type=collections">#AsiaTeachers</a></p> <p>Keywords: archaeology, archaeologist, tomb, funeral, death</p>
Tess Porter
16
 

Korean Buddhist Painting: Looking Closely

<p>In this activity, students will use visual evidence to explore and study an exceptionally rare Buddhist painting from the Goryeo period (935-1392 CE), an era of great artistic and cultural achievement in Korea.  This painting depicts Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of infinite compassion, and scholars believe images like this were created to aid private meditation.  Use this activity can as an entry point into studying Buddhism in Korea, Korea during the Goryeo period, and more. </p> <p><a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/search?st=%23AsiaTeachers&amp;st_op=and&amp;item_type=collections">#AsiaTeachers</a></p> <p>Keywords: water moon avalokiteshvara, avalokitesvara, religion, buddha, </p>
Tess Porter
4
 

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
 

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
 

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
 

Achelous and Hercules: What makes you say that?

<p>Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "What makes you say that?," students will examine the 1947 mural "Achelous and Hercules," by Thomas Hart Benton. This artwork explores the relationship between man and water in post-war agricultural America through the retelling of an Ancient Greek myth. Collection includes a video analysis by a museum director and an interactive exploring areas of interest in the artwork.</p> <p>Keywords: greece, agriculture, agricultural, missouri river, marshall plan, truman, cultural connections, midwest</p>
Tess Porter
6
 

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
 

Key Moments in WWII: What makes you say that?

<p>Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "What makes you say that?," students will investigate two photographs, taken from different angles, of Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu aboard the USS Missouri as they signed the surrender that would officially end WWII.</p> <p>Keywords: world war 2, world war ii, general macarthur, carl mydans, primary source, ww2, japanese instrument of surrender, potsdam declaration, inquiry strategy, japan</p> <p><em>#visiblethinking</em><br></p>
Tess Porter
6
 

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