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April 2, 2003

School kids see special show

From: The Saratogian, NY - Apr 2, 2003

BRENDAN McGARRY, The Saratogian April 02, 2003

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- In a show of appreciation to visiting actors, around 300 students in grades K-3 at Geyser Road Elementary silently raised their arms Tuesday afternoon and flapped their hands in the air.
The students were showing off a newly acquired skill: applauding in sign language.

Several actors from the Little Theater of the Deaf, the children's version of the National Theater of the Deaf -- both of which are based out of Hartford, Conn. -- performed Tuesday at Geyser Road and Caroline Street elementary schools.

The theater troupe taught students and teachers how to applaud, say thank-you and several other signs in American Sign Language before acting out children's stories, including ''The Giving Tree,'' and ''Caps for Sale,'' said Kim Stoner, a parent and cultural arts representative for the school's Parent Teacher Organization.

One actor spoke while three others signed the stories. ''It was great,'' said Stoner, whose daughter Abbie, a second-grader in Ms. Laura Andi's class, enjoyed the performance. ''The children really liked it.''

Stoner said the school and PTO are always looking for fun ways to educate the children. A student and several parents at the school are deaf, so the event was a great way to introduce the subject matter.

''The actors did a fabulous job,'' she said. ''They were great to work with and had so much expression in what they were doing.''

Stoner said the actors visited Dorothy Nolan and Greenfield elementary schools Monday, and Maple Avenue Middle School sometime in February.

The idea to bring the performers to the district came from Susan Balmouth, who showed a flier about the troupe to an earlier districtwide meeting of the cultural arts representatives from each of the six elementary school's volunteer organizations, she said.

©The Saratogian 2003