The suffix ‘ed used in a past tense, regular verb is a year one target (together with ‘ing’ for good reason)
The ed suffix is an important entry into the world of morphology and represents an important move away from a phonics-only approach as ‘ed is never spelled as it sounds.
Previous post on morphology:
Originally fully pronounced, as still in beloved (which, with blessed, accursed, and a few others retains the full pronunciation through liturgical readings). In Old English already the first and third person singular past tense form of some “weak” verbs was -te, a variant of -de (see -ed), often accompanied by a change in vowel sound (as in modern keep/kept, sleep/slept).
A tendency to shorten final consonants has left English with many past tense forms spelled in -ed but pronounced “-t” (looked, missed, etc.). In some older words both forms exist, with different shades of meaning, as in gilded/gilt, burned/burnt.
The past tense can be seen as spelled ‘d in historic texts.
Activities which help students to differentiate include word sorts:
I made up a narrative for my students and invented the character of ‘Ed’ who makes 3 sounds:
At the time fidget spinners were all the rage so I turned spelling practice into a game:
I also make videos with students, wherein Stikbot Ed turns verbs into the past tense.
My principles are always:
Tell students what they need to know.
Make it relatable.
Engage the imagination.
Provide practice opportunities.
Encourage independence through self-checking.