In recent years, we have documented that discipline problems rise and learning decreases when students do not have something meaningful to do. Time that is engaged and productive, on the other hand, is usually called time on task (Brookover, Beamer, Efthim, Hathaway, Lezotte, Miller, Passalacqua, and Tornatzky, 1982). Sparks and Sparks (1983) have used the term "sponges" to mean those short activities that can keep the child meaningfully involved while a transition takes place or the rest of the group is ready to move on or the bell rings for recess. Kounin (cited in Brookover) has described the teacher's ability to make transitions smooth and continuous as a major distinguishing characteristic between good and poor managers, and Robinson and Good (1987) have reiterated that teachers who are successful managers plan before school starts how they will handle these "unplanned for" minutes.
Clary, L. M. (1989). "Sponge" Up that Time for Reading. Reading Horizons, 29 (4). Retrieved from http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/reading_horizons/vol29/iss4/7