User Image

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

 

Inka Architecture: Teaching Resources

<p>This topical collection gathers teaching resources on Inka architecture, focusing on building methods and architectural symbolism in Cusco, capital of the Inka Empire. These resources explore the symbolic layout of Cusco as well as the architecture of five specific structures: Saqsaywaman (upper temple of the sun), Hatunrumiyoc (a wall, once part of the palace of Inka Roca), the Qorichanka (lower temple of the sun), and the Double Jamb Doorway (a sacred entryway). Includes video interviews with archaeologists, interactive 3D models, and the exhibition website for "The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire." Resources also explore the continuing importance of these structures in Cusco today, both in terms of environmental stability and continuing cultures.</p> <p>Keywords: inkan, inca, incan, archaeologist, stonework, continuing legacy, peru, symbol, religion, ancient civilization, world history, culture, cuzco, andes, saksaywaman, qurikancha, archaeology, pre-columbian, latin america, south america, ruins</p>
Tess Porter
23
 

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
 

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
 

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
 

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
 

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
 

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
 

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
 

American Ingenuity, Innovation, and Enterprise: Renwick Gallery Seminar Resources

<p>This collection previews the first seminar of the 2016 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series. Fellows will visit the Renwick Gallery, the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s branch for contemporary craft and decorative art, which recently re-opened in November 2015 after an extensive two-year renovation. Two Renwick Gallery staff members will speak at this event: Nicholas Bell, Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-In-Charge, and Nora Atkinson, Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft. </p> <p>Included in this collection: presenter bios, presentation descriptions, and resources chosen by presenters for attendees to explore before attending the session. These resources are not required, but will help fellows prepare for discussion the day of the seminar.</p><p>#MCteach<br /></p>
Tess Porter
8
 

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

<p>This collection previews the second seminar of the 2016 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series. Fellows will visit the National Museum of the American Indian, tour the exhibition "The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire," and watch the documentary "Caravan of Memory." Dr. José Barreiro, Assistant Director for Research, Director of the Office for Latin America, and co-curator of "The Great Inka Road," will lead the seminar.</p> <p>Included in this collection: bio of presenter, presentation description, and resources chosen by the presenter for attendees to explore before attending the session. These resources are not required, but will help fellows prepare for discussion the day of the seminar.</p><p>#MCteach<br /></p>
Tess Porter
6
 

American Ingenuity, Innovation, and Enterprise: National Portrait Gallery Seminar Resources

<p>This collection previews the third seminar of the 2016 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series. Fellows will visit the National Portrait Gallery, explore the exhibitions, and learn strategies for examining portraiture in the classroom. Two National Portrait Gallery staff members will lead this seminar: David C. Ward, Senior Historian, and Briana Zavadil White, Student and Teacher Program Manager.</p> <p>Included in this collection: presenter bios, presentation description, and resources chosen by the presenters for attendees to explore before attending the session. Fellows will be asked to discuss their answer to the quiz question during the seminar. Other resources are not required, but will help fellows prepare for discussion the day of the seminar.</p><p>#MCteach<br /></p>
Tess Porter
6