Learning multiplication facts is a huge deal for 3rd grade! I like to make the process as painless as possible. In addition to teaching the basic concepts of multiplication with lots of practice with manipulatives, I like to use music. Kids really enjoy learning with music and music has a way of putting facts into long term memory.
I begin with this CD of skip counting songs from Melody House. I start playing these songs long before my kids are introduced to multiplication. Even though the title says multiplication, these songs do not include multiplication - skip counting only. These songs have been around for a very long time. As a matter of fact, I first started using these songs 17 years ago. The songs are not very modern, but they are extremely catchy. I’ve been told from other teachers that my kids sing them years after they leave my class. That’s a win in my book!