Third grade is the year that multiplication is introduced. Our first goal with students is to have them understand the concept. Why do we multiply? We start off our math lesson with a chance to practice skip counting. This is to help students understand that multiplication is REPEATED ADDITION. I continue to show this using concrete materials, such as blocks. When students understand that equal groups are repeatedly added to get a product (answer to a multiplication problem), we then move on the some basic math fact memorization. Every week, we will practice a certain factor and take a 20 question fact quiz. I will time them for 1 minute 30 seconds. I strongly emphasize competing against themselves, not others. By timing them for the same time, students do not know how long it takes others and can focus on their own time.