-Ed Endings Advanced Worksheet

PronouncingEdEndingsOne common problem my ESL students ask help for is knowing how to pronounce -ed endings in English.  There are only 3 ways.

  1. If the end of the word is a voiced sound, like B V G Z TH ZH J R L M N NG or any vowel sound  -ed is pronounced as “-d”
  2. If the end of the word is an unvoiced sound, like P F K S SH CH  -ed is pronounced as “-t”
  3. If the end of the word is the sound T or D  -ed is pronounced as “-Id”

Below is a link to my free printable advanced worksheet.  Also see my Printables page for more -ed Endings worksheets.

Free Printable Advanced Pronouncing -ed worksheet.





10 Truths about Pausing in ESL Teaching

American teachers are in a hurry!  We feel we have so much to cover in such a short class, we often rush the lesson and we don’t include enough pauses and the right kind of pauses.  Today’s post is on using effective pauses in your ESL classes.

1. Pausing is not merely speaking slowly. When teaching, as in talking, you need to group your words together into understandable phrases.   Pauses go both in front and in back of thought phrases.

2. Pausing does not need to occur between words.  It’s actually not a good idea to pause between every word, because it prevents your students from hearing and comprehending the thought phrases, as well as hearing the linking so common to connected speech sounds. This means your pausing has special significance and must occur at the correct times.

3. Pausing allows your students to “translate in their head”.  It may come as a surprise to you but early ESL learners do not think in English.  They are probably

  • translating what they heard to their first language,
  • then formulating a response using their first language,
  • then translating their response into English.  

These are 2 additional steps ESL students must take in order to respond to your question.  Give them the wait time they deserve.

4. Pausing encourages more verbal interaction from your students. You will not always need a verbal response.  Sometimes a head nod (non-verbal) will do the trick.  However many students have the verbal response ready to go, but if you don’t pause long enough, you take away their opportunity to respond outloud.

5. There is no shame in having silent moments (pauses) in your teaching.  If you are of the belief that if the teacher/students are not talking, then they are not learning – you are wrong!  They ARE learning, quietand you may need to pipe down long enough for their brains to think.  In that pause, that quiet space, they are  processing what they’ve heard and thinking of the associations of language they can pair it with.

6. You are probably not pausing often enough or long enough.  The number one complaint that I hear from ESL students is that their teacher “goes too fast”.  What they are really telling me is their teacher rushes to the next point rather than waits in the silence which may be uncomfortable for the teacher.  Studies show a pause of 1 second is typical before teachers continue (ask the question again, or cue for the answer).  However a pause of 3 – 7 seconds has been shown to be beneficial in increasing more thoughtful answers and greater comprehension. Read more about the effective use of pausing .

7. Pausing after student responses yields similar benefits.  Instead of affirming a students response right away, if a teacher pauses after a student response, these increases have been noted:  length of student responses, number of unsolicited responses, number of responses from less-capable students, and number of speculative responses.

8. Pausing and stress work together, and compliment each other.  If you have very little pausing in your lecture, then the points you ARE stressing may lose significance.  Pausing calls attention to what was said just before and just after.  You will improve your stress by improving your pausing.talk_dont_ talk

9. Your students want you to pause even if they don’t say so.  Have you noticed how international students usually don’t interrupt or ask their teachers to adapt their teaching style?  International students often approach learning differently from Americans.  They are more timid in the classroom and respect the teacher in a way that may look like shyness, or extreme compliance.

10. You can become more comfortable with your pausing.   If the silence of pausing makes you  uncomfortable, you are not alone.  This is common for many teachers.  I encourage teachers to deal with this area, by being quiet on purpose.  Play a silent game with students such as charades, or cooperative games such as passing a ball around the room, making sure every student participates (remind them “no talking, just watching”).  You can also keep tally on the board of your purposeful pauses.  Count off 3 or more seconds after you ask a question, mark it with a tally, and then look to your students.  I’m betting the pause will be a welcome addition to your classroom.





Writing Lesson (Word/Sentence Prompts)

ESL Writing ActivitiesWritten expression is a great activity for your ESL students.  When writing, students use grammar, and spelling to express words and thoughts they have.  For many students, it’s easier to write than to speak (provided your classroom is quiet and you give students plenty of time).

When you look at errors your students make, you have a good idea of the kinds of things you can teach them.

Try these worksheets and other writing activities:

Write about Yourself worksheet.

Write about Family worksheet.

Write about School worksheet.

Write about Holidays worksheet.

Write synonyms and antonyms of words you put on the board.

Write lyrics to a song (they write what they think they heard).

Have fun and Happy Writing!




Sensory Support – Help for Children with Autism

Reading Temple Grandin’s newest book “The Autistic Brain” there is a lot of emphasis on sensory processing.  Our son received a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in elementary school, and for several years we were supporting his sensory needs. (Actually he was first diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, then a year later he got an autism diagnosis – so you can imagine his sensory problems were pretty disruptive to his every day life!)

Here are a few things we did to help my son. The areas we addressed were deep pressure, tactile, visual and auditory.

Hammock Chair  – This provided the deep pressure he craved.  We hung ours outside and the additional cool breeze was something that helped too.

hammock hiding
Swimming, and Diving Under the Water – Fortunately we live in a warm climate, and my son swam from February through September. Water pressure increases the further you go underwater, and my son always felt best when he could dive to the bottom of the pool (8 feet). Temple Grandin talked about the “squeeze machine” she built to provide pressure to large amounts of her body. Diving under the water does the same for my son. 

Pillows and Heavy Blankets on his Bed – Very early on we noticed he loved lots of blankets on his bed. He wanted the heaviest ones we had. On particularly stressful days, such as when they had a field trip at school, he would come home and burrow under a pile of blankets on his bed and stay there a while until he felt calm enough to come out again. Weighted blankets are often helpful to kids with ASD.  I sewed a weighted blanket for him and using it helps.

Cutting Tags out of Clothing, and Washing Clothing to Soften It – This was so important in our house and it made a big difference. I cut tags out of most everything he wore. Also washing pieces of clothing often in the beginning helped them to be soft enough for my son to tolerate. Because he had good verbal skills, he was always able to tell me how his body was feeling, so I learned to trust him when he said his clothes itched, or were too hot, or were too tight.

Having Soft Stuffed Animals to Rub (read about my son’s favorite stuffed animal here), or Velcro Tape to Rub (for under his desk, either hook or loop worked fine). The velcro tape was used at home and at school. He enjoyed rubbing it, so this provided some incentive for him to stay at his desk for seat work.  


Dimmed Lights – I provided lamps for his desk that he felt were too bright, he actually did homework with the lights turned down as low as possible, and this was a good solution.

Ear Plugs, Hands over Ears or Providing an Escape from Noisy Situations – In his school, the 1st grade classrooms were located close together in a small central hall. With all the kids assembled there in the morning he could not tolerate the noise. He showed me that he needed sensory support by covering his ears and asking to leave the area. After that, I provided earplugs when we were in noisy places. I know some families who use headphones for this reason. Try different types of earplugs or headphones – your child may have a favorite, the ones that feel best to him.
ear plugs


The TH Sound

It’s easy to see, and the TH sound in English is usually the easiest sound for ESL students to make using American English pronunciation.

To make TH stick the tip of your tongue right between your upper and lower teeth in the front of your mouth. TH SoundI tell students “bite your tongue and blow”.  The air comes down the center of your tongue and out your mouth. You don’t have to stick your tongue out very far.  Just a stick it out a little bit between your upper and lower teeth.

Words like thank you, and with have no vocal chord vibration (called “voiceless th”)

Words like there and the have vocal chord vibration (called “voiced th”)

If you don’t stick it out far enough your TH will sound like an S.  I often here Persian students say “Sank you very much!”

If you tap it on the bumpy spot behind the teeth, your TH will sound like a D or a T, and you will say “Mudder”, “Brudder” and “Udder” for “Mother” “Brother” and “Other”.

Try these voiceless TH words.   Listen to the voiceless TH words here.

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  • thank you
  • think
  • thing
  • thought
  • thirteen
  • author
  • method
  • nothing
  • toothache
  • without
  • bath
  • booth
  • faith
  • math
  • teeth

Try these voiced TH words.   Listen to the voiced TH words here.

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  • the
  • their
  • them
  • this
  • they
  • bother
  • either
  • father
  • mother
  • brother
  • bathe
  • breathe
  • clothe
  • smooth
  • teethe