Perhaps the most powerful tool we have in teaching children that "Art Speaks" is to let their own personal voice be heard. Find something that your students feel compassionate about. Different age groups have different responses to the world around them. Those of us who have taught elementary know well the experience of beginning a mini-lecture on a work of art, only to be "interrupted" by a random comment that seems totally unrelated to the discussion. If we dismiss their comments, we are communicating to them that their personal voice is really not that important. Find a way to help them bring those passions into their art work. Recently, a co-worker's dog died. All of my sixth grade art students know about it, so we are working on a collaborative art project to present to her this week. This aligns with the "Pet Project" we are currently working on. My student sample is the image of a kitten that my daughter recently rescued. This is leading to a larger service project that I will blog about later. At this point, my students feel very connected and engaged not only to this lesson but also to ways that art can reach out to borders beyond the classroom and speak volumes!