Visual-EYES-ing a Portrait of a Graduate-- FREE Program

by  Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

Program image

Students will investigate how prominent figures in the United States have used communication, collaboration, resilience, creativity, and global citizenship to make significant contributions to U.S. history and culture. During their visit, they will engage in communication, collaboration, and critical thinking while reflecting on portraiture. The program strives to inspire, connect, and provide relevance to each student as they work to become a successful “Portrait of a Graduate.”

Edward O. Wilson (2006)

by Jennie Summerall

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

© 2006 Jennie Summerall

Program Rating

   based on 1 evaluation(s).
Book it!

About This Program


Multipoint: $0.00
Multipoint Premium: $0.00



30-60 minutes based on your needs

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Homeschool Students

Minimum participants:


Maximum participants:


Primary Disciplines

Character Education, Fine Arts, Language Arts/English, Social Studies/History

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, etc...)

Booking Information

Program will be offered Monday through Friday, from October 3, 2022, through May 26, 2023. The program can be thirty, forty-five, or sixty minutes in length and are offered between 9:30am (EST) and 4:00pm (EST).

Book it!

Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be submitted at least one week prior to the scheduled videoconference.
On the day of program, The Portrait Gallery has the right to cancel or alter the scheduled program if your group is more than 10 minutes late.

About This Provider

Content Provider logo


Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

Washington, DC
United States

            The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of the United States through the individuals who have shaped American culture. Spanning the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story. 

Jocelyn Kho
(202) 633-8514

Program Details


Videoconference presenters show portraits from the museum’s collection using the Smithsonian Learning Lab platform (https://learninglab.si.edu/org/NPG). Through inquiry-based questions and discussion, presenters engage with participants as they explore the portraits together.


After completing this lesson, students will be better able to:
• Identify key components of a portrait and
o discuss what we can learn about the sitter through these components
o investigate how these components reveal the viewpoints (of artist, sitter, and
viewer) represented through the depiction of the sitters
• Identify important Americans from colonial times to the present and
o analyze their contributions to US history
o determine how they exemplify Portrait of a Graduate attributes
• Analyze the various perspectives that artists bring to their work and
o examine the intended messages of the artists
o discover a variety of ways to represent identity
o determine if the portrait is realistic or idealized, representational or abstract, or
if it fits on a spectrum
• Utilize critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and citizenship skills.

Standards Alignment

National Standards

Key Ideas and Details:
Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
Analyze how and why individuals, events, or ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
Craft and Structure:
Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text (e.g., a section, chapter, scene, or stanza) relate to each other and the whole.
Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:
Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.1
Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.
Analyze the relationship between a primary and secondary source on the same topic.

State Standards

Virginia, Fairfax County
Understand how artists make decisions to follow or break tradition
a. Demonstrate Understanding of the Purposes of a Variety of Art Forms b. Use Representational, Abstract, & Nonrepresentational Approaches
Reflect on/response to artworks through critical & aesthetic discussion a. Explore Reasons for Creating Art & Explain Aesthetic Responses b. Examine How Visual Relationships in Artworks Convey Meaning
Understand the connections among art, artists, history, and culture
a. Explore Personal Identity & How it Links to Art, History, and Culture
b. Explain How Careers/Institutions/Disciplines Relate to Problem Solving
Communication and Multimodal Literacies Use effective oral communication skills in a variety of settings
a. Listen Actively and Speak Using Appropriate Discussion Rules
b. Participate as a Facilitator and Contributor in a Group
c. Participate in Collaborative Discussions Building on Others' Ideas d. Ask Questions to Clarify the Speaker's Purpose and Perspective e. Summarize the Main Points a Speaker Makes
f. Summarize and Evaluate Group Activities
g. Analyze the Effectiveness of Participant Interactions
h. Evaluate Own Contributions to Discussions
i. Demonstrate the Ability to Collaborate with Diverse Teams
j. Work with Others & Show Value for Individual Contributions
Determine Purpose of Media Messages & Examine How They are Constructed
a. Compare and Contrast Techniques Used In a Variety of Media Messages b. Identify the Characteristics and Effectiveness of Media Messages
c. Interpret Information and Explain How It Contributes to the Topic
d. Craft and Publish Audience-Specific Media Messages
Read, Comprehend Variety of Fiction, Literary Nonfiction, Poetry
a. Differentiate Between First and Third Person Point of View
b. Describe How Word Choice, Imagery Contribute to Meaning of Text
c. Draw Conclusions and Make Inferences Using the Text for Support
d. Identify and Analyze the Author's Use of Figurative Language
e. Compare/Contrast Details in Literary & Informational Nonfiction Texts f. Use Reading Strategies to Monitor Comprehension
g. Analyze a Text for Elaboration
h. Identify and Summarize Supporting Details
Proportional Relationships
a. Represent a Proportional Relationship
b. Determine If a Proportional Relationship Exists c. Make Connections Between Representations
Plan and Conduct Investigations
a. Use Observations to Make Fine Discriminations Between Similar Objects b. Use Current Applications to Reinforce Science Concepts
Understand Public Policy Decisions Relating to the Environment
a. Understand the Management of Nonrenewable Resources
b. Understand the Mitigation of Land-Use and Environmental Hazards c. Understand the Cost/Benefit Tradeoffs in Conservation Policies
US History I
Apply SS Skills to Understand the Factors that shaped Colonial America
a. b.
Apply a. b. c. d.
Describe Specialization of and Interdependence Among the Colonies Describe Colonial Life in America from Multiple Perspectives
SS Skills to Understand cause/result of the American Revolution Explain the Issues of Dissatisfaction Leading to the Revolution Describe How Political Ideas Shaped the Revolutionary Movement Describe Key Events and Roles of Key Individuals in the Revolution Explain Reasons Why the Colonies Were Able to Defeat Britain
SS Skills to Understand the Challenges Faces by the New Nation

a. Describe Historical Developments of the Constitution of the US b. Describe Major Accomplishments of the First Five US Presidents