Deutsch 230 Kursinformation – Sommer 2018

Deutsch 230 Kursinformation – Sommer 2018

Required Texts Recommended Grammar Text
Recommended Texts for “Abenteuer mit Deutsch” Other Recommended Texts
Course Requirements and Grading Scheme Course Website
Gateway Vocabulary Test Grammar vs. Speaking? No: Grammar Through Speaking!
Respectful Classroom Environment Academic Integrity, Essays, Homework
Course Administration Final Video Project
Homework Attendance and Participation Policy and Grading; Laptops & Cell Phones
Oral Exams Advice and Resources

Required Texts. VERY IMPORTANT: for both books, you will need this specific edited version!

If you purchase or rent them from Ulrich’s or the Michigan Union Bookstore (Barnes & Noble), you are GUARANTEED to have the correct book.

Franz Kafka [edited by Achim Seiffarth]: Die Verwandlung [Book & CD], ISBN: (10-digit) 88-7754-808-8 or (13-digit) 978-88-7754-808-5. If you order it online (not recommended and hard to find), MAKE SURE it is from CIDEB Publishing and is Niveau 3 (indicated by the yellow coded edge on the book).
Thomas Brussig: Am kürzeren Ende der Sonnenallee–Easy Reader Series. Oddly, there are 12 different ISBN numbers because this book is published all over the world. Several of them are 978-31-2675-719-5 or 978-08-2192-579-9.
Adriana Borra & Ruth Mader-Koltay: German Through Film, ISBN: 0-300-10950-4 [Yale University Press]

Recommended Grammar Text

All the grammar you are required to know is in the course materials online, but this book is an excellent reference.

Rankin/Wells. Handbuch zur deutschen Grammatik (grammar text), 6th Edition (G)

Text suggestions for “Abenteuer mit Deutsch (AMD)”

These are a few suggestions. You do not have to buy a book for this. Check out the lending library of books in the Language Resource Center in North Quad for more choices.

Hans Peter Richter: Damals war es Friedrich ISBN: 3423078006
Adalbert von Chamisso: Peter Schlemihls wundersame Geschichte [CIDEB Publishing, Niveau A2, mit CD] ISBN: 9788853001740. A delightful version of this Faustian tale!
J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen
C.R. Goedsche: Cultural Graded Reader: Heine ISBN: 0442220383 This text is out of print. You should be able to find a used copy via!

Other Recommended Texts

You can use online dictionaries exclusively. We recommend PONS supplemented by LEO

  • Langenscheidt Standard Dictionary German (paperback)
  • Harper Collins German Dictionary. The unabridged version has virtually everything. There is a College version and one for Kindle.
Zorach & Melin: English Grammar for Students of German, 6th ed.
Brown: A Practical Guide to Language Learning
Jones & Tschirner: A Frequency Dictionary of German ( ISBN: 0-415-31632-4) Expensive, and not suited for use as a regular dictionary, but an excellent resource if you want to build your vocabulary systematically.

Course Requirements and Grading Scheme

Attendance & Participation
Homework (including AMDs)
Essays and Rewrites
Final Video Project
Diagnostic Grammar Quizzes
Quizzes (in class) & Mini-Quizzes
Tests including Gateway Vocabulary Test–see below
Oral Exams

Final course grades calculated by percentage on Canvas will translate into the following letter grades:

97-100 A+ 77-79.99 C+
93-96.99 A 73-76.99 C
90-92.99 A- 70-72.99 C-
87-89.99 B+ 67-69.99 D+
83-86.99 B 63-66.99 D
80-82.99 B- 60-62.99 D-

Course Website:

Gateway Vocabulary Test

During the first three weeks of the course, you will take a “Gateway Vocabulary Test” on a list of 584 of the most frequent German words and phrases. You can find the vocabulary list on the course website and in Canvas on the Homepage. The test is 100 questions and is timed at 30 minutes. There is a large item bank, of which you will see 100 items loaded differently each time. Many of these words and expressions should already be familiar to you. To help you study, the practice test will be available for you to take online (without the score counting) as often as you wish. You can take the Graded version only one time and this score goes into your test grades (see grading scheme above).

Grammar vs. Speaking? No: Grammar (and Vocabulary!) Through Speaking!

We design proficiency activities so that much of class time is for applying vocabulary and grammar structures you’ve learned. We use a lot of partner/group activities, which we hope you find to be an enjoyable, low-stress way of speaking.

Grammar can be studied and practiced outside of class, so in order to maximize class time for exchanging interesting information, we ask you to read about the grammar covered in class before we actually cover it in class. Don’t worry if the grammar confuses you when you study it on your own: you will find that the practice in class will usually clear things up; if the class seems to need it, your instructor will provide explicit explanations. Ask questions.

Respectful Classroom Environment

This class depends on all of us being comfortable interacting informally with each other, experimenting with the language, taking risks, and being playful. That means that what is important in every college classroom is especially important for us: an environment in which everyone feels welcome and respected. That means thinking about the things we say, not perpetuating stereotypes, and apologizing if you said something you didn’t mean. It also means that we really want you to let your instructor know, in class or outside of class, in person or via email, if something happens in class that makes you uncomfortable, so that we can talk about how to make things better.

  • If there are students in your section whom you know from your previous German course(s), then of course it’s great if you continue to enjoy working with these old friends. But we also hope you will make an effort to meet new people in this section!
  • In this context, please bear in mind the University of Michigan’s non-discrimination policy: The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.
    Gender pronouns. Anyone who speaks German has learned the various gender distinctions for nouns (der, die, das) as well as their declension in nominative, accusative, dative and genitive. As far as distinguishing gender pronouns for individual people, the most common conversations in German-speaking countries will use binary grammatical gender (e.g. sie and erder Student = the male student, die Studentin = the female student). The German language does not yet include any generally accepted pronoun options for non-binary gender identities (in part because the case system makes this complicated), but many options have been proposed. We want to prepare you for communicating in German based on our experiences and research of the language in order to create a bridge to other cultures. We also want to cultivate the most inclusive classroom environment possible. If there is a way that you would like to be addressed in your German class, please let your instructor know so that we can show our respect for you in every way possible.

Academic Integrity, Essays and Homework

All work submitted must be original student work produced for this course, with proper quotation and citation of the contributions of others. This course is governed by the prevailing Codes of Student Conduct and of Academic Integrity of the University of Michigan and the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LSA).Violations of Academic Integrity will be taken seriously and can in serious cases result in a failing grade for the course and/or referral to the LSA Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education. Official LSA policies on Academic Integrity, and also a quiz on Academic Integrity, can be found at: Essays: The essays (and rewrites of these essays) that you submit for this course are where this policy crucially applies. This means:

  • ADVICE: You will get the most out of writing the essays for this course by creatively using the language you have learned, and thus “making it your own.” Applying what you have learned will help you master it, whereas new words and phrases you look up are much less likely to stick. When you write about a German text you have read, look for opportunities to express the ideas from the text more simply in your own words.
  • You may NOT get someone who is proficient in German to proofread your essay. We recognize that you can learn a lot from having someone look over your essay with you, but we enforce this rule in order to make the grading fair for everyone. It IS OK for you to ask your instructor or some other proficient speaker 3 or 4 specific questions on how to say something. If you do so, please put the relevant text in bold print in your essay and include a note at the end with the name of the person who helped you.
  • You may ONLY use an online translator for single words and short phrases. When you do, please underline the relevant word or phrase and note the source you used at the end of your essay. Do this also when you use a dictionary. It is your responsibility to make sure all the German you include in your writing has been proofread by you. Your instructor can usually tell when you have used a translator because either the language doesn’t match your usual proficiency level (or personality) or certain phrases are translated in a predictably odd way. The hassle of having to cite every use of such resources in your essay will hopefully serve as an additional disincentive.
    • It is good practice to look up the genders and plurals of nouns, and the conjugation patterns of verbs you use in your essay. We also strongly encourage you to use a German spellchecker.You do not need to cite your use of these resources.
  • If you consult any additional resources not assigned in the course (e.g. wikipedia or other online sources), cite them at the end of your essay, even if you did not quote from them directly. Put any direct quotes in quotation marks and cite the source with a footnote.
  • If in doubt, ASK your instructor before submitting your essay!!
  • Test Essays: Test review sheets for this course will always include the essay topics for the test and are an opportunity to put into practice what you have learned. Go through the course materials to find ideas. You can be very creative in this way. You are encouraged to refine your essay ahead of time and memorize it for the test.

Homework: You are allowed (and even encouraged!) to get help from others and to collaborate with classmates on homework; if you use online translators and other sources, please cite them in a clear way.

Course Administration:

Course Coordinator: Vicki Dischler (3120 MLB;

Language Program Director: Hartmut Rastalsky (3214 MLB; 647-0404).

Final Video Project

Instead of a final exam, we will ask you to do a final video project, in order to bring the course to a creative and enjoyable end. Detailed information about the video project is available here.


Homework is graded on a scale of “check”/”check +”/”check -“. “Check” means the homework has been done well or well enough, the equivalent of an A. “Check +” means it has been done exceptionally well. “Check -” means it has been done poorly and/or incompletely. Late homework automatically receives a “check -“. Homework may not be accepted if it is more than two class days late (see your instructor). We enter grades into Canvas as follows: a “check” counts as 2 points, a “check +” counts as 3, a “check -” as 1, and homework that is not turned in at all receives a “0”.

Attendance and Participation Policy and Grading

  • Speaking and listening in class are the most important part of this course. We will keep track of your attendance and participation by an “A&P Tally” grade on Canvas, as follows:
  • Each class hour, you will earn two “attendance points” for coming to class, and two “participation points” for participating actively.
  • If you miss a class hour  unexcused, you lose all four attendance & participation points for that hour.
  • If you miss a class hour for an excused reason (e.g. documented medical, psychological or family issues; religious holidays; family events such as weddings, funerals or graduations; job interviews; musical performances or athletic events in which you are participating, etc.), you will still earn the two attendance points for that hour, but you cannot earn participation points if you are not in class.
    • As a courtesy to your instructor, please explain ALL absences, even if the reason is e.g. oversleeping, or work for another course, a trip, a concert etc.!
  • Lateness: Loss of 1-4 points for that hour, depending on how late you were.
  • Inattention (inappropriate cell phone or laptop use, “zoning out,” etc.): Loss of one or both participation points for that hour.
  • Difficulty participating: The “A&P Tally” grade is primarily an effort grade, but it is also an achievement grade. If you are in class and making an effort to participate, but you have noticeable linguistic difficulties understanding and carrying out partner activities and/or responding when called on in class, you will lose one participation point for every two class hours (or one point for every four class hours, if the problem is less severe).
    • BUT: We expect mistakes! Research has shown that language acquisition happens in a predictable sequence of stages, each stage characterized by certain patterns of mistakes. ==> Difficulty participating (on an ongoing basis) may reduce your A&P grade. Making mistakes will not!
  • Your instructors will schedule Deutschtische (where you will speak German while eating your lunch) twice a week. These are mandatory. You will lose 2 attendance points for missing a lunch table unexcused, or 1 attendance point for missing one excused.
  • Absence Make-Ups/Participation Bonus: You can earn 2 make-up/bonus participation points for attending events such as
    • Deutschtisch
    • Attending your instructor’s office hours for more than 30 minutes
    • Occasional special events, as announced by your instructor
    • You can earn a maximum of 10 make-up/bonus points in the first 4 calendar weeks of the semester, and up to 10 more in the second 4 calendar weeks  of the semester, i.e. you can earn a maximum of 20 make-up/bonus points in this way over the course of the semester
  • Your instructors will enter “A&P Tally” grades daily. They will enter a “comment” in the “A&P Tally” score for that day whenever the grade is different from the “standard” four points per class hour. If you wish to contest an “A&P Tally” grade, YOU MUST DO SO WITHIN ONE WEEK OF IT BEING ENTERED. ==> Please check your “A&P Tally” grades regularly!
  • ***If you have lost a net total of 60 or more points (the equivalent of missing 15 class hours unexcused) in your “A&P Tally” by the end of the semester, your FINAL COURSE GRADE will be an AUTOMATIC E*** 
  • We will translate your final “A&P Tally” grade into your actual Attendance & Participation grade for the semester as follows:
    • “A&P Tally” of 96 percent or more ==> 96 percent for the final Attendance & Particpation grade (i.e. an “A”)
      • Only in very exceptional cases (“A+” level of participation throughout the semester), your instructor may enter a higher final grade of 97-100.
    • 95 percent or less: Your final Attendance & Particpation grade will be the same as your “A&P Tally” grade.

Laptops and Cell Phones

  • You do not need a laptop during class (there are a few exceptions–your instructor will let you know): class activities frequently require students to move around, and a laptop could easily get knocked over.
  • Inappropriate laptop/cell phone use (e.g. texting, chatting, checking facebook or sports scores, answering the phone) will lower your attendance/participation grade significantly.
  • Please silence your cell phone when class begins. If there is a good reason why you must answer the call, please leave the room very briefly.

Oral Exams

Oral Exams will consist of two informal conversations in your instructor’s office, for which you are strongly encouraged to practice, e.g. by going to conversation hours. We also give you the questions ahead of time. You may sign up to take the oral exams individually (a 5-8 minute conversation) or in pairs/small groups (10-15 minutes). You may retake the oral exam ONCE if you are not satisfied with how you did!

Advice and Resources

  • There is endless potential for having fun in foreign language classes. Make up interesting sentences. Be playful. Get to know fun facts about your fellow students!
  • ASK QUESTIONS!! For every question you ask, there are likely to be several people in the class who will be grateful you asked it.
  • Take a look at the “Reading Strategies” page on the course website. Above all: (1) Skim texts once before you read them thoroughly. This will save you time: it is the first thing you will hear in any speedreading course. (2) Fight the urge to look up every unfamiliar word. Use your knowledge and common sense to help you fill in the gaps. Remember how efficiently you do this in English e.g. when you are having a conversation in a noisy place! If you know what the word probably means, don’t look it up unless what you read or hear later proves that your guess must have been wrong.
  • Find a study partner. You’ll have more fun, you can share pizza (or Bratwurst), two heads are better than one, and you never learn a thing as well as when you try to explain it to someone else. There is abundant research data to show that students who work in study groups are more successful language learners.
  • Set aside a time every day to think in German about what you are doing (“Ich stehe auf. Ich putze mir die Zähne. Ich bin der/die Beste…”). This is great practice for the oral exams. Look up words for things you care about.
  • Explore the many resources on the course website, including Self-Study Advice.