Course Information

English II Syllabus               


Name:  Mr. Ta                                                              Course: Sophomore English
Location: Rm. 336                                                       Phone: 323-250-2340 (Google Voice)
Webpage:                         E-Mail:
Office Hours: By Appointment                                               Huntington Park High School


“Through others, we become ourselves.” –Lev Vygotsky

We are entering into a journey of empathy, social justice, and excellence.  Through the study of crucial issues and concepts such as identity, racism, social class, oppression, language, and culture, we will build comprehensive reading and writing skills and strengthen our critical thinking, problem-posing, and problem-solving skills.  Following a student-centered model, students will become more autonomous and active participants in their education.  We will engage in global and community-based research, discussions, and texts that will further develop a critical mind and challenge social and cultural misconceptions. Students will explore and seek innovative methods of improving the community and themselves. 

At the end of this course and following the Common Core Standards, you will:

  • be prepared with the knowledge and experience to begin improving the well-being of individuals, families, and working/social environments.
  • be analytically skilled to search for and understand the destructive patterns of institutionalized poverty, discrimination, and oppression.
  • engage in community-based research on social issues, focusing on issues affecting individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities in our neighborhood and beyond.   

  • develop the ability to cite evidence from informational and literary texts to support analysis of what texts say as well as inferences drawn from the text. 
  • be able to analyze the development of complex characters and themes over the course of a text.
  • write argumentative essays, informative and explanatory text that have some relation to historical events or other disciplines, and narratives that span from interior monologues of literary/historical characters or personal journeys. 
  • engage in thought-provoking collaborative discussions, projects, and presentations with other classmates, as well as becoming a community of learners.
  • pass the CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam).
  • show proficiency on state Common Core tests


Required Background

To successfully complete this course, you must:

  • enter the classroom with an open mind, ready to embrace and respect the different views of other individuals.
  • be willing to engage in challenging (and sometimes uncomfortable) conversations and dialogue that uncovers problems within our society and ourselves.

  • be fearless when writing, reading, and speaking.

Required Materials

To successfully complete this course, you will need:

·         Three-ring binder (1.5 to 2 inches, any color)
·         10 tabbed dividers for the binder.
·         Loose-leaf notebook paper (paper ripped out of a spiral will not be accepted).
·         2 blue or black pens
·         2 pencils
·         2 red pens
·         Highlighters (at least three colors)
·         Reading book of your choice
·         1 box of tissues or hand sanitizer (optional for extra credit)
***If you have trouble getting any of these items, please speak to me before or after class.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story.” – Maya Angelou


General Rules:

My teaching and classroom environment seek to provide a safe community that allows students and individuals to express their opinion and analysis; engage in thought-provoking, problem-posing critical dialogue; and assume autonomous roles where they will be in charge of their education by following the community of learners model.  For students to succeed in this classroom, all rules, norms, policies, and structures must be adhered to.  Always be respectful, mindful, and understanding of others.

Absences: If you are absent, check for any class work or homework that was given.  Assignments can be found in the ALL ASSIGNMENTS folder or on the classroom bulletin.  Students are in charge of their grades and assignments.  Any re-admits will be left on Mr. Ta’s desk.

Tardies: Students will quietly enter the classroom and start on their Writer’s Journal.  Students who are excessively late and miss the Quick Write will have to spend time after class, lunch, or school to finish the Quick Write. 

Food/Drinks: Water is allowed during class.  Food and other drinks will not be allowed during instruction.  If students eat during instruction time, they will have to stay afterschool to clean the room.

Cell Phones: Phones will not be allowed—unless instructed.  They should be off and put away by the beginning of class. Students will be given a verbal warning on the first offense.  Phones will be taken away for the class period after the second offense.  Repeat offenders will need a parent conference. 

Late work/ Make-up work: Late work will be accepted within the timeframe of a unit, but will be deducted 10-25% depending on the tardiness.  Once a unit is over, students may not submit work from that unit.  Make-up work will not have deductions if there is a valid reason.

Bathroom use/ leaving the classroom: In accordance with school rules, students are not allowed to use the restroom during class. Students may use the restroom if they agree to spend 20 minutes after school to make up for lost time.

Cheating/ Copying: Absolutely no copying for writing assignments (quick writes, reflections, and compositions).  Students will receive zeros for cheating and copying and must take the time to redo the assignment.  Repeat offenders will need a conference.  If help was needed, students can come before or after school to get my help.

Talking during direct instruction: Nonverbal and verbal warnings for first offense.  Students will be moved to another seat after the second offense.  Students will be moved to another seat, prompted with a private conference, or apology if problem persists.

Bullying/ Use of oppressive language: Students will receive a stern reminder, tolerance and empathy reflection assignment, and then a call home if things progress.  We trying to build a safe environment, SO ANY USE OF HOMOPHOBIC, SEXIST, RACIST, OR OFFENSIVES WORDS/GESTURES WILL RESULT IN TIMELY AND EFFECTIVE CONSEQUENCES.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.


Beginning/ Ending Class: Students will enter and start working on their journal entry by the time the bell rings.  Students will have their homework on their desks. At the end of class, if the classroom is clean and all materials have been returned, students are free to go.  Students will not start packing or wait by the door until the bell rings.

Collecting work: Students will pass their work to the front after we have gone over it.  Work that requires a few days to complete needs to be brought to class everyday to receive a progress stamp. Interactive Journals will be collected every week.

Distributing books and materials: Papers are located on the red table near the door.  Students will gather papers as they arrive and will have them by the time they are seated.

Group Work: Groups will be chosen by the teacher (unless stated otherwise). ***There will be another sheet with more instructions.

Seating: Seating will be assigned (first semester).  During spring semester, students will be allowed to choose their own seats, unless they violate the policies of the classroom.

Keeping track of assignments: they will be a class bulletin of assignments.  students are responsible for keeping their own log.

Grading:  Grades will be posted and updated every two weeks and listed by birthday. 

“We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle

Grading Policies:
Class assignments, homework, projects, test, and quizzes will receive points.  Points are added at the end of each grading period to determine the grade.  If a student is uncertain of how they received a particular grade, they should make arrangements to speak to me to discuss this problem, preferably at the time the assignment is returned.  Parents/Guardians are encouraged to make arrangements with Mr. Ta for conferences or contact me via phone or email should they have questions regarding class assignments, expectations, performance, or general concerns. 

Grading Scale:
Students will be expected to turn in all assignments.  This is a sample list of some of our typical assignments and their point values.  More assignments will be added as the year progresses.

Assignment                                                      Point Value
Interactive Journal (Weekly)                            20 Points
Document-Based Question (DBQ)                   25 Points
Literature-Based Question (LBQ)                    25 Points
Vocabulary                                                      10 Points
Grammar Packet                                              10 Points
Quizzes                                                                        20 Points
Miscellaneous Assignments                             5/10 Points
Final Exams                                                     100 Points
            Pre-Write                                             10 Points
            First Draft                                            15 Points
            Editing/ Peer Review                            15 Points
            Final Draft                                           60 Points

98-100+ %      A+
89-97.9%         A
79-88.9%         B
65-78.9%         C
0-64.9%           F

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