The question is “Are you doing ABC BOOTCAMP while teaching virtually?” The answer is ABSOLUTELY!!! Here’s how we’re doing it and some tweaks and tips to make it work!

Army theme is seen here but there are 4 themes and 1 no theme to choose from when deciding which theme yo want to use for ABC Bootcamp.


We are doing the whole-group circle charts during our LIVE teaching time (students are watching me via live stream). This year we are using a new state created foundational skills curriculum so we’re following that order which is not in alphabetical order, however, the studies have shown the outcomes is the same, so go in any order you’d like!

We’re also continuing a sounds first approach. We learn the sound then, “how to spell” the sound with the letter. Basically, we are doing the circle chart the same way we have for almost 10 years now.

There is one change that we made for Digital ABC BOOTCAMP that has been a huge success. We are communicating the letters for the week to the families and asking each child to bring 1 item that begins with the sound to our live class. In fact, included in the digital component of ABC BOOTCAMP is a list of items to support the families! This has been such a tremendous way to do Bootcamp in a virtual setting. Having the items allows the students to participate and it keeps things moving so we don’t have much downtime.

Here’s how it works:

  • The letter and sound are briefly and informally introduced in the morning message.
  • After we sing our songs, we immediately start ABC BOOTCAMP.
  • Introduce the sound with ample amounts of practice. I say the sound and have the kids say the sound. Repeat. Just like in person. I’m watching and listening so I can see and hear that they are participating.
  • Then I call on a student. They share the item they brought. They name the item.
  • Everyone repeats the item and we identify the sound.
  • Mr. Greg draws (ya’ll, I’m no artist and it shows. But that’s half the fun of ABC BOOTCAMP!) the picture. It’s important that you draw the picture instead of having predetermined pictures to glue onto the chart. You want the students to pick the words. You can’t let them do that if you have predetermined pictures to put on the chart. Plus it gets them engaged with the lesson by watching you draw. They will laugh and point but that’s exactly what you want! Engagement!
  • Repeat the word, identify the sound, spell the sound (say the letter).
  • WRite the letter.
  • Spell the word. As I’m writing the letters, I’m also saying the letters.
  • Repeat the word. Repeat the sound.
  • Call on the rest of the students.
  • At the end, read the words 1 at a time and say the sound. Continue until all words have been read.
  • Repeat sound and letter a few more times.

Just like in person, the first few days are a challenge. It’s ok. Provide guidance and modeling. Yes, virtual teaching means we’re doing more modeling and more talking, but it’s ok. Let some of your higher students provide the scaffolding when choosing words for the chart. I have seen an improvement in just 5 days of ABC BOOTCAMP!

Also, some sounds (t, d, b, p, etc) are difficult to say loud enough to hear over virtual learning technology….just be aware of this and make sure you’re not adding the -uh sound at the end. I caught myself doing this with Tt because I wanted to be loud enough so they could hear. Just be mindful of this (but ya’ll….we’re not perfect and if you do it, it won’t ruin them, I promise. GIVE YOURSELF GRACE!)


Following the circle chart, we immediately move to our augmented reality tool called Letters Alive from our friends at Alive Studios. Letters Alive brings animals to life in 3D so we can use those to review and practice letters, sounds, concepts of print, science, and more! And yes, we ARE using it virtually!

  • Review the sound and letter.
  • Introduce the animal.
  • Discuss the animal, the sound, and the letter.
  • Sentence building-prior to each sentence we ask the question (EXAMPLE: Can the bear fly?) and the kids give a thumbs up thumbs down.
  • Build the sentence. Discuss the answer.
  • I read the sentence. They read the sentence.
  • Review the letter and sound.


Yes, we’re doing the hats and handwriting. This is accomplished because we’re doing weekly packet drop-offs. We are doing SAFE porch drop-offs of the printed materials for the week. This is a PERSONAL choice because I know my students need these paper activities. They need to cut, color, write, glue, and draw. Staring at a screen simply doesn’t do it for them. Once they have completed their work, the families send me pictures!


During the live class (students are watching me through live stream), we use whiteboards and dry erase markers (which were provided to students before school began) to practice letters. I model how to form the letters and then we practice. Then, I model how to trace and write the letters on the handwriting page. They complete the handwriting page on their own after we finish our live class.


The hats are such an integral and fun part of ABC BOOTCAMP we just had to do them. I show the hat already colored, we identify the hat and the sound (there’s that repetition and multiple exposures!). They do the hat on their own at home after the live class. After the live class, I send a picture of the completed hat and circle chart so they can see the hat and practice more! The hat serves as on-going engagement with the learning process as they make the hat and then show their family what they have made and wear it throughout the day!


Just like in-person teaching, we are assessing our students. We did our beginning of the year assessment, we will do an assessment on letter 13 and we will do an assessment at the end of ABC BOOTCAMP. As always we are using ESGI. Here’s how:

We set up a one on one live meeting with the student. We share our screen so they see the letters/pictures. They do the assessment and we click yes and no. Just as if they were sitting next to us. Parents/family members are present because they log them on and off but we are very clear that no one should help them. We’ve had no issues with this so far. (NOTE: this is me using a co-worker’s daughter to practice the virtual assessment….it works just as well when I assess my students.)

Start your own 60 day free trial of ESGI! You’ll also save $50 off your first year license. Just click here and use the code SMORGIE


We have now included digital resources for ABC BOOTCAMP as part of your download. (If you already own ABC Bootcamp, simply re-download to get this updated) These can be used with Google and Seesaw. I have not yet started using these digital activities, however, my plan is to use them in one-on-one settings. I will use them as our lessons during our one-on-one meetings. Students can work with me to complete circle charts and sounds hunts and centers as a way to focus on the sounds and letters they need extra help with. By purchasing ABC Bootcamp, you will get both the printable versions and the digital activities!

The new digital activities now included in ABC Bootcamp are:

  • Circle Charts
  • Sounds Hunt
  • Student Circle Chart Books
  • 4 Literacy Centers


There are 5 themes available: army, monster, superhero, safari, and no theme. All content is the same just the theme is different.

For more details on ABC BOOTCAMP, watch the video and/or visit the blog post below:

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