We are amazing people. We notice things going on all over our classroom. When working with a small group, we know what Johnny is doing over by the door and what Sasha and Claudie are doing at their seats. We can tell Julia to get back on task by using a signal and give permission to Tim to go to the bathroom. Amazing!
All of these are management strategies called "Overlapping". It is a term created by Jacob Kounin, a classroom behavioral theorist. In Kounin's book, Discipline and Group Management in Classrooms, he states "overlapping is the ability to attend to two issues at the same time."
I believe we actually attend to many more than 2 issues at a time. We are masters at doing this.
So, the next time you notice a child off task and say something to them and then turn and finish a lesson with a group, say "Aha, I just did "Overlapping".
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