Proximity & Beyond Fall Clubs

Chelsea Penney
December 7, 2023

Proximity Learning aims to engage students of all levels through bonus after-school activities, enhancing their learning experience beyond the classroom. Traditional schools offer extracurriculars, social clubs, and academic competitions. However, students in virtual school are sometimes left behind without these additions. Proximity & Beyond was born out of the desire to add enrichment opportunities for virtual students to replicate school-sponsored clubs.

Led by Proximity’s live instruction teachers, students can join a board game club, explore our unique career series, and go on virtual field trips to give them extracurricular activities in addition to their ongoing schooling. This year’s clubs are an extension of past enrichment series Proximity Learning has hosted including:

Summer Camp Proximity & Beyond: Virtual summer camp including yoga, pets, drama, creative writing, and more!

Love & Zoology: Explore the work of an animal zoologist and how she started in the profession. 

Music Therapy: A music therapist teaches a class and helps students express themselves through music. 

Animal Mystery: A zoology whodunnit - students solve a mystery by compiling animal clues.

Author Visit: Kim Norman reads her children’s book and describes her life as an author. 

Choose Your Own Adventure: Students read through a story, taking polls along the way to make decisions as a group. You never know where they will end up.

Virtual Field Trip Club

Certified virtual Spanish teacher Amanda Mignault hosts virtual field trip clubs. Students join her on expeditions across the world via Google Earth.

What gave you the idea to form a virtual field trip club?

“I use Google Earth in my Spanish classes when we talk about the different countries. The way technology has grown, just in the time of my career, I've been able to move from showing my students dots on a map to being able to ‘stand’ next to ancient ruins and ‘walk’ through museums. I am often asked to share different digital tools with Proximity staff, so when I was asked if I wanted to start a club, I immediately went tech.”

What destinations are you visiting? How do you prepare?

“My preparations include a whole lesson, with slides and a worksheet for them to follow along.” However, she is flexible and customizes to the group of students who attend. Since this is an informal club, she’s ready to change direction when needed. “I’ll put the official lesson to the side, and explore places the students like to explore. I like to be prepared but I also like to be flexible and cater to my audience. And flexible with myself.

“Funny story - Google Earth updated and completely reformatted their site the night before my first event. So I opened up the site to something completely different from my powerpoint and worksheet.” Luckily, her strength lies in adjusting her plans and accommodating her students in any circumstance.

How have the students reacted so far?

“One day, I had one student who was super outgoing, enthusiastic, and exciting. She is an artist and very into anime and anything Chinese and Japanese. So we got to see some major anime hubs, walk around some stores in Japan, and see lots of different architecture. She LOVED it and is super excited for the next event.”

How does it enrich their learning outside of the classroom?

“The students know they have the world at their fingertips. Sometimes they know more than teachers about tech! But I have learned, even through these activities that Google Earth is really a never-ending well of information into which so many people haven't taken the dive. There is something there for people of all interests and it’s more than just maps - it’s history, points of interest, festivals, etc. There are images and street view. You can plan a step-by-step trip. You can learn about architecture and languages, and hey- even anime and manga! Now I'm rambling... But there are just SO many cool things you can do, see, search for, learn. And, its fun!”

Upcoming career series: Financial & wellness tips with Dion Lucas.

Learn more about Proximity Learning virtual schools here.

Chelsea Penney earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing from University of Colorado Denver and her Masters of Science in Marketing from Texas A&M University Commerce. She loves living in Austin, TX and working on the frontline as Content Marketing Manager for Proximity Learning.

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