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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

 

Eudora Welty: Examining Portraiture

<p>This teacher's guide provides a portrait and analysis questions to enrich students' examination of Eudora Welty, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author known for her evocative novels and short stories set in the American South. 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 video and blog post that look closely at this portrait, as well as a related article about Mississippi's new writers trail that may be used as a lesson extension.</p> <p>Consider:</p> <ul><li>How is this portrait both fact and fiction?</li><li>How does this portrait reflect how Eudora Welty wanted to be seen, or how others wanted her to be seen? Consider for what purpose this portrait was created.</li><li>Having read one of her stories, does the portrait capture your image of Eudora Welty? Why, or why not?</li><li>If you were creating your own portrait of Eudora Welty, what characteristics would you emphasize, and why?<em></em></li></ul><p>Keywords: mississippi, ms, story, optimist's daughter, writer, #BecauseOfHerStory</p>
Tess Porter
6
 

Portrait Analysis: Lili'oukalani

<p>In this activity, students will analyze a portrait of Lili'oukalani (1838-1917), the last monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii.  Queen Lili'uokalani came to the throne after her brother's death in 1891 and ruled until 1893 when, to avoid bloodshed, she surrendered to a coup led by American business leaders.  Opportunities to learn more include other portraits of Lili'uokalani, including one taken when she was 15, an article about her life and the annexation of Hawaii, and more.</p> <p>This activity can be used as an entry point into studying Lili'uokalani's life and achievements, Hawaiian annexation, Hawaiian history and culture, and more.  This activity opens with questions from the National Portrait Gallery's<em> "Reading" Portraiture Guide for Educators</em> and ends with a Project Zero Think / Puzzle / Explore routine; the full portraiture guide and routine instructions are located at the end of the collection.<br /></p> <p><em>This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.</em></p> <p>Keywords: liliuokalani, hawai'i, polynesian, pacific islander</p> <p>#APA2018 #BecauseOfHerStory</p>
Tess Porter
11
 

Designing a Better Voting Machine: 1880s to Today

<p>Objects are time capsules; they embody values, aspirations, or problems of a particular time and place and mark a stage of technological evolution. This student activity examines voting machines used in U.S. elections over more than a century. Looking closely and understanding the historical objects’ design evolution will inform students’ design of new machine intended to overcome barriers to voting in today's elections. </p> <p>The first five images are voting machines from the late 1800s to the early 2000s. Students will explore their parts, purposes, and complexities, then read the Washington Post article "Broken machines, rejected ballots and long lines: voting problems emerge as Americans go to the polls." Finally, students will design (and may prototype) a voting machine.<br /></p> <p>This collection incorporates two Project Zero Agency by Design routines: <em></em><a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/agency-by-design-voting/xf6JuBhCB1u29e8h/#r/517111">Parts, Purposes, Complexities</a>, a routine for looking closely; and <a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/agency-by-design-voting/xf6JuBhCB1u29e8h/#r/517112">Imagine If...</a>, a routine for finding opportunity. Questions in each routine are open-ended and should be used to spark peer discussion in small groups or as a class. For more information on how to use and facilitate each routine, see their resource tiles at the end of the collection, as well as the <a href="http://www.agencybydesign.org/">Agency by Design website</a>.</p> <p><em>Keywords: vote, voter, maker, making </em></p>
Tess Porter
13
 

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
 

Langston Hughes: Examining Portraiture

<p>This teacher's guide provides portraits and analysis questions to enrich students' examination of Langston Hughes, an American poet, novelist, playwright, and activist. 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 "The Music in Poetry" lesson plan and website, which connect the rhythm of blues stanzas to Langson Hughes' poetry and 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 they wanted to be seen, or how others wanted them 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 Langston Hughes? Why, or why not?</li><li>If you were creating your own portrait of Langston Hughes, what characteristics would you emphasize, and why?</li></ul><p>Keywords: missouri, mo, poetry, jazz, blues</p>
Tess Porter
10
 

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
 

Asian Pacific American Artists

<p>This topical collection includes resources related to Asian Pacific American artists, including individuals who work in photography, sculpture, painting, installation art, video art, landscape design, furniture design, jewelry and architecture. This collection includes portraits of the artists, artwork, articles, videos with experts, and related Smithsonian Learning Lab collections. </p> <p>Teachers and students may use this collection as a springboard for classroom discussions including biographies of Asian Pacific American artists, art analysis, and historical context. This collection is not comprehensive but rather provides a launching point for research and study. </p> <p><em>This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. </em> </p> <p>Keywords: Nam June Paik, Korean American, Roger Shimomura, Japanese American, Maya Lin, Vietnamese American, CYJO, Cindy Hwang, Isamu Noguchi, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Akio Takamori, George Nakashima, visual art<br /></p> <p>#APA2018</p>
Tess Porter
124
 

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
 

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
 

Letter Writing and Censorship in World War I

<p>This activity has students investigate experiences of servicemen in World War I through primary sources - censored U.S. Army mail postcards and envelopes.  Students will compare and contrast these primary sources to examine how censorship affected communication between servicemen and their loved ones, while building an understanding of how U.S. Army mail censorship was implemented and why it was necessary.  Using two Project Zero Visible Thinking routines, this activity is designed to spark further inquiry into World War I and the experiences of servicemen. The activity ends with an opportunity to learn more by examining a parody of the form postcard written by a British serviceman in his diary.</p> <p>Information on how to use this collection in the classroom can by found by clicking <em>Read More »</em>. </p> <p>This collection was created in conjunction with the National Postal Museum's "My Fellow Soldiers: Letters from World War I" teacher workshop (July 19, 2017). It focuses on two of the many postcards from <a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/my-fellow-soldiers-postcards-from-world-war-i/HPrCVWkR1wqjpK3k#r" target="_blank">this topical collection</a> to demonstrate its use in a secondary classroom. #NPMTeacherPrograms</p> <p>Keywords: WWI, WW1, the great war, army, military, soldiers, soldier, primary source, project zero, thinking routine</p>
Tess Porter
9
 

Mummies: Teaching Resources

<p>This topical collection pulls together resources on mummification in multiple cultures. Resources cover reasons for mummification, different methods, and what can be learned by studying mummies. Includes Smithsonian Channel videos, fact sheets, objects, a student-targeted webcast, and articles. Areas explored include Ancient Egypt, South America, and Europe.</p><p>Keywords: egyptian, archaeology</p>
Tess Porter
19
 

Mummification in Egypt: Ritual and the Afterlife

<p>In this student activity, learn the process and religious significance of Ancient Egyptian mummification through analysis of objects associated with tombs and funerary rituals. </p><p>Big ideas: Why and how did the Ancient Egyptians practice mummification? How does their religion effect their material culture?<br /></p><p>Includes artifacts, multiple choice and discussion questions, and opportunities to learn more through a reading-level appropriate article and a webcast. Encourages cross-cultural comparison of Afterlife concepts. Resources for learning more about the subject, through videos and articles, are located at the end of this collection.</p> <p>Keywords: mummies, mummy, archaeology</p>
Tess Porter
22