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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.

Tess Porter's collections


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

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

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

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

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

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="">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="">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

Korean Ceramics: Looking at Decorative Processes

<p>In this activity, students will examine Korean ceramics and use visual evidence to speculate about the processes used to create them, paying special attention to decorative techniques.  Questions from the Project Zero Artful Thinking Routine "Colors / Shapes / Lines," help students make detailed observations by drawing their attention to the forms in an artwork and giving them specific categories of things to look for.  Use this activity as an entry point into studying ceramics or Korean art, or to student creation of artwork.</p> <p><a href=";st_op=and&amp;item_type=collections">#AsiaTeachers</a> </p> <p>Keywords: pottery, observation, inlay, stamping, types, celadon, goryeo, clay, ceramic<br /></p>
Tess Porter

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=";st_op=and&amp;item_type=collections">#AsiaTeachers</a></p> <p>Keywords: water moon avalokiteshvara, avalokitesvara, religion, buddha, </p>
Tess Porter

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=";st_op=and&amp;item_type=collections">#AsiaTeachers</a></p> <p>Keywords: archaeology, archaeologist, tomb, funeral, death</p>
Tess Porter