I agree with Barbara that students *should* know their multiplication facts by the end of 4th grade. Unfortunately, many students come to 5th grade only knowing a few of them. I have a distressing number of students who, even at this late date in 5th grade, have managed to escape memorizing their facts. Now that the problem-solving strategies in the class activities (from Building on Numbers You Know) are getting sophisticated, they are having trouble because they can't multiply in their heads. We are working on ways to remedy that, as I explained in a previous posting to this discussion forum.
I am thinking about engaging parents in fact drills at home in a more formal way next year. I want to develop a system whereby students are required to practice facts at home with parents on a regular basis and have parents sign off on it as a homework assignment. Has anyone ever done anything like that?
It seems that this would address several concerns. First, it would keep parents involved and would address the concern that they all have, and legitimately so, that their children aren't strong on facts. Second, it would free up class time for other activities.