Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hunter and His Amazing Remote Control

I have had the best time, this summer, exploring a host of unbelievable school counseling and other education blogs. It always amazes me of how clever educators are. These folks are such inspirations to those of us who read about their latest endeavors and ideas!

In my perusing, I began following Scrapbook of a School Counselor. One of her posts speaks about her shopping excursion at the ASCA Conference (so much fun!). I immediately recognized one of the books in her picture as Hunter and His Amazing Remote Control, written by Lori Ann Copeland. I immediately thought to myself, "She made a great purchase!"

I have been using this resource for over 10 years and I wanted to post how I use this book with my students. Maybe some of you will want to use the last few weeks of summer to create any props you may use with this resource. The book includes: a story about Hunter (who has difficulty with self-control), lesson plans and activities/games, and printables. It is well laid out and extremely easy to use. I use this book in small support groups for students in Grades 3, 4, and 5 with impulsivity and self-control issues. Depending on the students, I think it could also be used with 6th graders. It is a novel concept, but the concept definitely provides a hook for these students.

Each button on the remote control stands for a particular strategy/concept in maintaining self-control. For example, the Channel Changer button reminds students that when their minds drift off to another channel (or topic) different than the channel (or topic) they are supposed to be thinking about, students need to press the Channel Changer button to switch their minds back to the correct Channel. So, if the teacher is teaching about fractions in math class and his/her mind drifts off to the "What I'm Doing After School Channel" then he/she needs to press the Channel Changer button to get back on the Fractions Channel.
I split up the book into 8 sessions. Each session focuses on one of the buttons. I have doubled up on the buttons in sessions...but that usually occurred with last few buttons.
Overall, the basic agenda of each session is as follows:

1. Review of group rules
2. Review of the remote control button(s) from previous sessions
3. Introduce the remote control button to be taught today by using the small wooden 
    remote control. These are foam bottons attached by Velro to a painted piecte of wood.
    All foam sheets were purchased at ACMoore.
3. Read section of the Hunter book that goes with today's remote control button being
4. Further teach/define today's self-control strategy. Refer to the small wooden remote
4. Using a crayon, color today's button on personal paper remote control (this
    printable is located in the book). Students keep this paper remote control at the end of
    the group and is displayed on desk or in folder, etc.
5. Add today's foam button on large remote control. This is a cake board - cardboard 
    rectangle, maybe 13" x 19" or so, purchased in the cake section of ACMoore.  I made 8
    of them. These stay in my room - students do not get to keep these.
  6. Complete an activity which goes along with today's remote control button and
I developed a workbook to go along with each group session. Sometimes we complete the workbook pages during the group session, but sometimes I give a page as homework. I use the homework method to further build on the ideas of self-control and personal responsibility presented in the group and will reward students for returning the workbook the next day. Students take home the workbook when it is completed. Pages in the workbook include:
  • Ways I will use the Channel Changer button at home
  • Ways I will use the Channel Changer button at school
  • 5 ways I will use the Pause button
  • A time when I didn't use the Fast Forward button....
  • Next time I will...
As the book outlines, prior to the last session, I send a letter home to parents (teachers or other staff members) of each group member. The letter asks these folks to secretly write a letter of affirmation for the student and get them to me prior to the last session date. On the last session (Way to Go!) students read their letters (privately or aloud - whichever they feel most comfortable with). This is the most powerful session and activity. Who doesn't love to read/hear positive things about themselves?

Have fun with Hunter and His Amazing Remote Control!


  1. Ooohhhhh! I love this! I am definitely going to make some remotes!! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Tabitha - you are very welcome! Have fun with them!

  3. Love it! I especially like the letters of affirmation for each student for "Way to Go." What a great idea!

    1. Thanks! If I have a kiddo in which the parent/guardian doesn't return the requested letter in a timely fashion, I will ask a staff memember who is close to the student to write one. Also, if there is a student who has had a particularly rough time in class, I may ask the teacher to write one to remind him/her of all the positive qualities he/she posesses. I have experienced first hand the impact of this teacher letter!

  4. Thanks for sharing this! I got the book last year, which then was immediately borrowed by a colleague and I forgot about it and didn't see it again until June! I was hoping to use it this year and your post made me sure that I will. I think that our behavioral support para will really like this too and will be able to help support our kids with these strategies.


    1. Agreed - the para can use the remote to visually remind students of the concepts - it can be done with pointing to the button (to take any verbal redirection out of the it).

      What I have liked about using this resources is that you can set it up to be fun, but, also highly structured with a consistent format. The students seem to really respond to this type of format and the novelty of it all.

      My favorite session is the Pause/Fast Forward. I use the video Beauty and the Beast at the section right before where Belle sneaks off to go to the forbidden part of the castle. The students tell me when to PAUSE the video (at the points where she should stop and think). I PAUSE it. Then I tell them to FAST FORWARD and tell me what they think might happen next. They answer. I then hit PLAY to continue on to see if their FAST FORWARD predictions were correct until we get to the next PAUSE moment and we repeat. It is a 5 minute total video section or so, but could be done with any such video and really drives the point home!

    2. This is one of my favorite resources for kids that struggle with impulsivity. I don't ALWAYS like the activities so I often use activities from • Calm Down and Play: Activities to Help Impulsive Children, by Loretta Oleck Berger, MSW. I also find a music therapist who has created music for each button. Here is the link

      When teaching the PAUSE button I often Use an animated Howard B Wigglebottom book called "It's OK to back away". It can be found at along with all of the other Howard books.

      Would you mind sharing your workbook. I really like that idea. My email is or

  5. I love the book and the ideas. I'm teaching Hunter & his ARC to my three 2nd grade classrooms as part of my Professional Development Plan so I'm trying to gather as much info as possible. I seen the above email about sharing your workbook, if you open to that idea, I'd love a copy.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. The workbook can be found in the blog post titled Hunter Workbook.

  6. As a school psychologist, I have used this program for pull-out sessions with identified students, but I found it to be the most successful when I used it in the general ed classroom (We all have problems with attention now and then) with the teacher participating and reinforcing the concepts and behaviors daily. I have found students to be very responsive to the lessons.

  7. I am really excited about this book, but my students are in first grade and having a hard time with the concepts. Is there a program/book that is geared more towards the younger population? I will start gearing "Hunter" down, I just don't want to "reinvent the wheel".

    1. Right - this book is definitely more appropriate for grades 3, 4 and 5. For my first grade impulsivity group, I think about the areas in which the kiddos are struggling - stop and think, cause and effect, listening and following directions, personal space, making good choices, interacting with others, etc. (many of the same concepts in Hunter). So, I search for and/or develop activities to address these areas. No one particular book or program per se.

  8. Can't wait to use this book for our impulse control small group! Does anyone have a pre/post test to go along with this?