Deutsch 221/231 Kursinformation – Herbst 2018

Deutsch 231–Herbst 2018: Kursinformation

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 and Kothe-Hildner Prize
Homework Attendance and Participation Policy and Grading; Laptops & Cell Phones
Oral Exams Max Kade Haus & MLB conversation hours
Advice and Resources

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

You can order these on the Barnes and Noble College online portal:

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, 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 SonnenalleeEasy 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.

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)

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) 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 15%
Homework (including AMDs) 15%
Essays and Rewrites 15%
Final Video Project 10%
Diagnostic Grammar Quizzes (on-line) 5%
Quizzes (in class) & Mini-Quizzes 20%
Tests including Gateway Vocabulary Test–see below 15%
Oral Exams 5%

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-
0-59.99 E


Course Website:

Gateway Vocabulary Test

During the first month 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 er; der Student = the male student, die Studentin = the female student), 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

    Very important: All work submitted, including all homework assignments, must be original student work produced for this course, with proper quotation and citation of the contributions of others. When in doubt, cite (see below)!

    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 revisions 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 making the German you have learned “your own.” 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.

      Citing resources
      Note all of the following situations in which you should put words or phrases in BOLD (or, alternatively, underline them) in your essay, and then CITE the source at the end of your essay.

      • You can ask your instructor, an instructor in the German Lab, or some other proficient speaker 3 or 4 specific questions on how to say something. Cite their name and the date you got help.
      • You may ONLY use an online translator like Google Translate for single words and short phrases. Clearly indicate these, include the English phrase you were checking, and then cite the translating tool. **Important: If your essay is clearly above the level of your work in class and on tests and homework, your instructor will hand it back to you and ask you to rewrite it.
      • If you consult any additional resources (e.g. Wikipedia or other online sources), even if you did not quote from them directly, cite these.
      • Put any direct quotes in quotation marks.
      • If you have no sources to cite (you didn’t look anything up in a dictionary, no one helped you, and you consulted no other sources), please write “I did not consult any outside sources for this essay” at the end!

        Situations in which you DON’T need to cite

        • 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 strongly encourage you to use a German spellchecker for your essays.
    • Test Essays: Test review sheets for this course will always include the essay topics for the test and are an opportunity to put into creative practice what you have learned. Go through the course materials to find ideas. 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 (only to look up individual words and simple phrases) 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 & Kothe-Hildner Prize

    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.

    Kothe-Hildner Prize

    • A Kothe-Hildner Prize of $200 is awarded each semester to the group producing the best final video project in 221/231. 
    • In order to make the competition fair, videos nominated for the prize competition cannot be longer than 15 minutes.
    • The nominated videos are usually screened from 4-6 pm on the Friday of the last full week of classes ==> please come and take part in the vote!


    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 day, you will earn two “attendance points” for coming to class, and two “participation points” for participating actively. 
      • If you are absent unexcused, you lose all four attendance & participation points for that day.
      • If you are absent 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 day, 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 day, depending on how late you were.
      • Inattention (inappropriate smart phone or laptop use, “zoning out,” etc.): Loss of one or both participation points for that day.
      • 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 two (or one) participation points per week.
        • 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!
      • Absence Make-Ups/Participation Bonus: You can earn 2 make-up/bonus participation points for attending events such as
        • Schokoladenstunde
        • Max Kade Kaffeestunde or Deutschtisch
        • German Film Series Wednesday evenings
        • German Club events
        • Grammatik Fanatik: an open forum for grammar questions Wed. 11:00-12:00. Loosely follows the German 231 syllabus.
        • Actively engaging with an instructor in the German Lab for 30 minutes
        • 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 2 calendar months of the semester, and up to 10 more in the second 2 calendar months 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 instructor will enter “A&P Tally” grades weekly. S/he will enter a “comment” in the “A&P Tally” score for that week 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!
      • 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.

    ***If you have lost a net total of 40 or more points (the equivalent of 10 unexcused absences) in your “A&P Tally” by the end of the semester, your FINAL COURSE GRADE will be an AUTOMATIC E*** 

    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/smart phone use (e.g. texting, chatting, checking Facebook or sports scores, answering the phone) will lower your attendance/participation grade significantly.
    • Please silence your 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!

    Max Kade Haus & Schokoladenstunde conversation hours–making up absences and missed work

    • The Max Kade Haus is the University’s German residence, located in North Quad.
    • If you go to a conversation hour, you can write about this for an “Abenteuer mit Deutsch” blog entry. Note that you cannot both make up an absence and write an AMD blog entry based on the same visit to a conversation hour.
    • Don’t be intimidated if others are at different levels: people will appreciate the effort you’re making, and you’ll learn a lot from speaking.
      • If you tell the R.A. or facilitator to write down your name, s/he will inform your instructor that you were there; each full conversation hour you attend can make up the 2 participation points you missed through an absence.

    Conversation hours (specific times TBA):

    • Evening Kaffeestunde (conversation hour with the Max Kade RA, Assistant and residents) – North Quad East Loft
    • Dinnertime Deutschtisch (conversation hour with the Max Kade residents over dinner) – North Quad dining hall. Look for signs marking the table as “Der Deutschtisch” or listen for a group speaking Deutsch!
    • Schokoladenstunde (conversation hour with a German instructor)

    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!
    • 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.
    • German Lab: There is a “German Lab” in the Language Resource Center in North Quad, MTWTh 1 – 4 p.m. During these times, one or more German instructors should always be present to help you with your questions.
    • 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.