Written by David Hatz, Teacher, Coach, Statistician (ret.)

           As I noted in my last blog, English is the world’s most popular language. Many would suggest it is also one of the more difficult to master. And it is inarguably one of the most confusing, particularly for second-language learners.
           Part of the reason for the level of difficulty and confusion are the homonyms,
homophones, and homographs that are liberally sprinkled throughout the lexicon, and suggest that Noah Webster possessed a devilish sense of humor and took perverse pleasure in constructing what was to eventually become the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Webster (1758-1843), was an American lexicographer, textbook pioneer, English-language spelling reformer, political writer, editor, and prolific author. He has been called the “Father of American Scholarship and Education”
           So, what are homonyms, homophones, and homographs? I’m glad you asked.
According to Merriam-Webster:
Homonym can be troublesome because it may refer to three distinct classes of words. Homonyms may be words with identical pronunciations but different spellings and meanings, such as to, too, and two. Or they may be words with both identical pronunciations and identical spellings but different meanings, such as quail (the bird) and quail (to cringe). Finally, they may be words that are spelled alike but are different in pronunciation and meaning, such as the bow of a ship and bow that shoots arrows. The first and second types are sometimes called homophones, and the second and third types are sometimes called homographs – which makes naming the second type a bit confusing. Some language scholars prefer to limit homonym to the third type.
           Below is a brief (and by no means complete) list of words that may cause consternation for some students:
           see (with your eyes)                                                          lead (to guide)
           sea (the ocean)                                                                  lead (the metal)
                                                                                                         led (guided)
           to (preposition)
           too (as well)                                                                        lie (untruth)
           two (2)                                                                                  lie (lie down)
           there                                                                                     fair (appearance)
           their (possessive)                                                              fair (county fair)
           they’re (contraction)                                                          fair (reasonable)
                                                                                                          fare (cost of public                                                                                                                     transport)
           bough (tree limb)
           bow (front of a boat)                                                      bass (fish)
           bow (at the waist)                                                           bass (low musical note)
           bow (tied with ribbon)                                                    base (math, number base)
           bow (shoots arrows)                                                       base (four bases in                                                                                                                    baseball/softball)
           tear (in the eye)                                                                close (near or next to)
           tear (rip)                                                                             close (to shut)
           Now, I’ll provide a few more examples of words that are pronounced the same but have different definitions. How many do you know the definitions of without looking them up? I would encourage you to look up the ones you do not know because increasing one’s vocabulary is invaluable to improving one’s reading and writing proficiency.
           discreet                                          profit
           discrete                                          prophet
           loot                                                  cereal
           lute                                                  serial
           dual                                                  birth
           duel                                                  berth
           colonel                                             palette
           kernel                                               pallet
           canvas                                             borough
           canvass                                           burrow
How well did you do? I’ll include more “quizzes” in future blogs.
I’ll leave you today with some sentences that incorporate a combination of the types of words I discussed today. Enjoy!
           1. The bandage was wound around the wound.
           2. The farm was used to produce produce.
           3. The landfill was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
           4. We must polish the Polish furniture.
           5. He could lead if he would get the lead out.
           6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
           7. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the            present.
           8. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
           9. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
           10. I did not object to the object.


Hello Spartans! We hope you enjoyed this week’s Mindful Monday! Here is a recap on what we learned during lunch:

Paper Stars

Learn how to make paper stars in less than a minute with a piece of paper and a pair of scissors! 

Step 1: Cut a strip from your piece of paper. It can be whatever width you choose, but make sure to have a long strip of paper that is around 10 inches. Keep in mind that the wider the strip of paper, the larger your star will be.

Step 2: Loop one end of your paper strip. It should look like a ribbon. Then, pull in the extra short piece through the loop and flatten it. It should look like a pentagon-shaped knot.

Step 3: Tuck in the excess paper into the pentagon, or fold it over. Use the rest of the paper to fold over the pentagon base. Once there is not enough paper to continue folding, tuck it into one of the pockets of the soon-to-be paper star.

Step 4: Pinch each of the five corners to create a three-dimensional star!

You can also check out our previous blog post on paper stars here.

Here is the video we showed during Mindful Monday:



Paper Cranes

Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to show the second origami tutorial, but we hope that you try it out using this video! 



We hope to see you next week! We will be learning and practicing breathing exercises. More information will be released soon.


Written by David Hatz, Teacher, Coach, Statistician (ret.)

           Having spent the first 27 years of my working life as a journalist – reporter, columnist
and editor – before being reborn as an English teacher, it should surprise no one that I deeply
appreciate those who demonstrate command, both written and oral, of the world’s most
popular language. Equally not surprising is the fact frequent and flagrant transgressions cause
me to tear my hair out.
           Note: If you know what I look like, you are aware that I am follicly challenged and will
soon be in need of a new way to express my frustration.
           So I hope devoting some blog space to this subject will serve the greater good. Maybe
some of you will benefit. At the least, you may find the rantings of an aging lunatic mildly
           And I can’t think of a better (or perhaps crazier) issue to start with than many of you
may not know exists: the difference between “more than” and “over.” Spoiler alert: The are not
           “More than,” like “fewer than” refers to numbers/amount. Over, like its counterpart
under, refers to spatial relationship.
           With this in mind, I hope you will understand why I experience a nuclear meltdown
whenever I hear a TV announcer say, “Over 50,000 people attended …” or “over 20,000 people
participated in the protest,” etc.
           Wrong! “More than however-many thousand attended, participated, or whatever they
           I learned this lesson the hard way.
           When I committed this egregious error as a freshman journalism student at San Diego
State way too many years ago in a newswriting class, my professor read my gaffe to the entire
class. He then paused, looked me straight in the eyes, and asked:
           “Mr. Hatz, would you write “The plane flew ‘more than’ the Pacific Ocean?”
           “No way!” I laughed. “That’s stupid. It doesn’t make sense.”
           He stared at me for several more seconds before replying: “Exactly.”
           So, the next time you’re watching the news and the talking head onscreen says “… over
20,000 people …,” text, tweet, or email the station and set them straight. You’ll be doing me
(and the English language) a great favor.
           Have a language question you need answered? Email me at dahatz@cox.net, and I’ll do
my best to answer it.

Created by Yesenia Ugalde, Senior at CVHS & ASB Secretary

Hey Spartans! Did you enjoy this week’s Mindful Monday about growth mindset? Here are the presentation slides and some additional resources to help you learn more! Be sure to check out next Monday’s event! The presentation has an English and Spanish version. 


Written by David Hatz, Teacher, Coach, Statistician (ret.)


           The ink had barely dried on my required letter of retirement that I had just emailed to
the district office, when my cellphone lit up. Caller ID indicated it was a former colleague
(assuming, of course, his phone hadn’t been stolen). Fortunately, hearing his voice when I
answered assured me that he was in possession of said phone. It should be noted here that I
forewarned several of my closer associates that I was not coming back.
           He expressed sadness at learning that I was closing the book on my teaching career. We
spent several minutes recalling good times, from chaperoning college trips to sharing the
spotlight at CSF banquets, to PLC and faculty meetings (OK, maybe the memories aren’t all
good), to visiting prom, to simple lunchtime and Saturday school conversations.
Then the discussion turned to the present. He shared his desire to teach an online
cooking class through the afterschool program, and then asked how I was enjoying retirement.
As I am still a rookie in the retirement game, and the COVID-19 pandemic has severely
restricted social activities, let’s say the opening weeks of my golden years have been
something less than stop-the-presses, front-page news: I sleep in (sometimes as late as 6:30
a.m.); I leisurely read the newspaper now on a daily basis (not just weekends); I’m catching up
on my reading; Lily (our Golden Retriever) and I take longer and more frequent walks; and, I
look for tasks around the house to keep from going crazy (and out of trouble with my better –
and still working – half).
           Not surprised, and confirming what he already knew (I have time on my hands), and,
most importantly, acutely aware of the fact that I have trouble saying no – especially to
students – he gently suggested that I might enjoy contributing to the Spartan Blog.
           He assured me “there’s no pressure,” and “you don’t have to do this.”
           This teacher knew exactly what he was doing. Did he really think a guy who spent 27
years in the newspaper business (I didn’t become a teacher until I was 49) was going to pass on
a chance to share his thoughts and opinions? Students note: that is a rhetorical question.
           But even if I wavered, my colleague and friend had a secret weapon. He had sophomore
Cecilia Ymaz contact me. Teachers, if you haven’t had her yet as a student, I truly hope you get
the opportunity before she graduates. She’s cut from the same mold as her older sister, Valeria
CVH class of 2014, UCLA class of 2018). My only regret is that Cecilia will not be an AP English
student of mine as well.
           I shall keep secret the identity of the teacher who talked me into doing this. You’re
welcome, Mr. Mallory.
           Seriously, I look forward to writing as a way of staying connected with Sparta until
better times allow us to be together again.
           What will I write about? I’m not sure. But I can promise you this: I will be positive,
lighthearted, and humorous (I hope). And, yes, occasionally sarcastic – my former students
wouldn’t want it any other way. And as a lover and lifelong student of English, it is safe to say
there will be some language lessons and tips included. I’ll do my best to make them interesting.
           Until next time, stay safe, stay involved. And, students, do your homework.


                  ATTENTION SPARTANS!

 The San Diego County Registrar of Voters needs YOUR help in creating digital public service   announcements. Due to the global pandemic, voting for November 3’s Presidential Election must be   done in a safe manner that protects the general public. Any student that has an interest in graphic   design and digital art is welcome to submit their designs. 

 You have the option to create either a digital flyer or a social media graphic. Submit your designs       to Antonia.Hutzell@sdcounty.ca.gov. The deadline is Wednesday, September 9 by 5 pm.

 Get started soon! Click here to read all the requirements, restrictions, and more!

 Stay safe and do the right thing!

 – Spartan Blog



Written by Cecilia Ymaz, Sophomore at CVHS & Commissioner of Publicity

Want to make fun, lucky stars that take less than a minute to fold? Well, this is the place for you! Paper stars can be used for decorating your room, gifting them to your friends, and so many other ways. All you need is a strip of paper.



You can buy these origami paper strips at stores like Daiso or on Amazon. You can also cut long strips of paper. Most origami paper strips are 25 centimeters long and 1 centimeter wide.







Step 1: Fold the strip loosely. It should look like the loop of a ribbon.  




Step 2: Pull the excess paper from the ribbon through the loop. Once your base looks like a pentagon, press down on the shape to flatten it.



Step 3: Turn your paper over and fold the excess paper over the pentagon. You can now start folding the rest of the paper! Follow the direction the paper folds towards, then flatten it. Continue the process until there is not enough paper to fold over the base of the star.

Step 4: Tuck in the remaining piece of paper inside the star.

Step 5: Pinch each corner with your fingertips to get a three-dimensional star!