I’m sharing a picture from a teacher in our district. Consider how a chart like this can be used with different grade levels and abilities. Many students will be able name some things that come in groups. As skills advance, you can have students practice skip counting, thinking about the different items that come in groups. Eventually, you can use the listed objects to talk about multiplication using models generated by the students.
Here are two websites for students who are developing multiplication skills.
The first is a tool for students to practice skip counting http://www.topmarks.co.uk/flash.aspx?f=countingstickv4
I like to use the horizontal stick, then select “steps of constant size” and “count on – from zero.” You can use the buttons at the bottom of the page to adjust the step size. Start with all the doors open and have students say the sequence forward and backward. Then, close doors one at a time as students continue to practice the sequence forward and backward.
The second site helps students see how arrays relate to multiplication problems.
Students determine the number of rows, how many in each row, and finally the answer to the multiplication problem.