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Tess Porter

Digital Content Producer
Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
Smithsonian Staff

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

 

Looking at Ancient Civilization through Objects

<p>This teacher's guide provides suggestions for facilitating student investigation of archaeological remains. Includes examples of objects to use (Ancient Chinese oracle bones) and a handout on artifact analysis that adapts close reading strategies to explore cultural objects. This concept can be replicated for other artifacts and cultures.</p> <p>Use the handout to brainstorm supporting questions for students - ie. "What knowledge or experience did the maker have?" "Who were the intended users?" Answers to these questions give students the knowledge to answer larger, compelling questions, like "What can archaeological remains reveal about early Chinese urban society?" </p> <p>Keywords: China, archaeology, archaeologist</p>
Tess Porter
6
 

Dissolution of Native American Territory 1885-1905

<p>This student activity examines what events, including the Dawes Act of 1887, contributed to the change in Native American reservation boundaries over time. Includes a video discussing 19th century views toward Native Americans, maps of reservation territory in 1885, 1895, 1905, and 1965, discussion questions, and an opportunity to learn more using an interactive map.</p> <p>Big idea: Understand how boundaries of Native American reservations have changed over time, and what events lead to the alteration of borders.</p> <p>Keywords: American Indian, western expansion</p>
Tess Porter
8
 

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
 

Compare and Contrast: Personal Perspectives in Portraiture

<p>In this activity, students will explore how portraits reflect both the personality of the subject and the artist's personal view of the subject. They will examine two portraits - both painted by James McNeill Whistler of his patron (and eventually ex-patron) Frederick Richards Leyland. Using looking strategies, students will compare and contrast the artist's perspective of his subject before connecting the portraits to music as a final activity.</p><p>Big Idea: How do portraits reflect both the personality of the subject and the artist’s view of their subject? How can visual art and music communicate similar messages?</p> <p>This collection was created for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Arts Professional Development Day. It was created in collaboration with the <a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/profile/freersackler_education">Education Department at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery</a>.</p> <p>Keywords: Peacock Room</p>
Tess Porter
6
 

Ancient Greek Myth: Reinterpreted by African American Artists

<p>In this student activity, analyze the timelessness of myth through three works of art by modern African American artists. Each artist, inspired by Ancient Greek myth, retells stories and reinterprets symbols to explore personal and universal themes. Includes three works of art, summaries of the myths they reference, and discussion questions. Also includes a video about the artist Romare Bearden and his series 'Black Odyssey,' which details Bearden's artistic process, the significance of storytelling in his art, and the lasting importance of 'Black Odyssey.'</p> <p>Big Ideas: How does myth reflect the values of an individual or their culture? How do myths reflect the human experience? How do myths transcend time and place?</p> <p>Inspired by a Smithsonian American Art Museum lesson plan, located <a href="https://americanart.si.edu/education/k-12/resources/african-american">here</a>.</p> <p>Keywords: greece, alma thomas, bob thompson</p>
Tess Porter
6
 

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
 

Flashcard Activity: Tools and Innovation

<p>This collection traces innovation in various types of tools over time.  Approach in small groups or as a classroom to have students explore the essential questions: What makes something innovative?  How do you define innovation? </p> <p>Supporting questions and activity implementation ideas are located under this collection's Information (i) button.  This activity works equally well online or using printed flashcards (see <a href="https://learninglab.si.edu/collections/flashcard-activity-tools-and-innovation/R998xYb5Lbjw4bHE#r/860422">the resource tile</a> at the end of this collection). <br></p> <p>Keywords: invention, flash cards, conceptual understanding</p>
Tess Porter
37
 

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="https://learninglab.si.edu/search?st=%23AsiaTeachers&amp;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
8
 

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