Before we get to doing the whole 12 x 12 grid, I have my students practice their individual multiplication tables. We start with the 3s and go through 12. I put a stopwatch on the board and students record the date and the time it took them. We then grade and record number correct. When we come back to them 2 weeks later I find students try to be their times and/or get more correct. I even take the multiplication test and they try to be my time (they get a free homework pass if they do). I find this helps them become excited to learn them and they practice/focus a bit more.