Deutsch 100 Kursinformation – Frühling 2020

“With every mistake we must surely be learning.” [George Harrison]

Unterrichtsmaterialien [=Class/Lesson Materials]

Semesterplan & Daily Lesson Plan Outlines Spring 2020

Deutsch 101 Hausaufgaben Winter 2020

Deutsch 102 Hausaufgaben Winter 2020

Index of Video Lectures and Vocabulary Resources Index of “Videos zum Spaß”

Course Components and Logistics

Required Texts Recommended Texts
Course Components & Grading Canvas Expectations
Oral Tests Final Role Play
Class Attendance Expectations

Attendance and Participation Policy and Grading


Course Methods, Policies, Help, Resources and Advice

Learning By Speaking; Language Learning Anxiety Language Learning Advice
Respectful Classroom Environment Gender and Gender Pronouns in German
Help and Resources Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Mental Health Resources Student Sexual Misconduct Policy
Academic Integrity, Essays, Homework

Required Texts

Vorsprung, 4th Edition + MindTap

  • For most of you, the best way to purchase the book and MindTap access is via the “course microsite,” for $146.95. For some of you, “Cengage Unlimited” may be a better option. Please look for a Canvas Announcement with detailed instructions before buying anything!!

Janosch: Oh, wie schön ist Panama [Paperback edition; ISBN: 9783407760067] (P)

    • Note: Kindle editions may not have the page numbers you need for assignments and detailed reading notes!

Marc-Uwe Kling: Die Känguru Chroniken [ISBN: 9783548372570] (KC)

  • Note: Kindle editions may not have the page numbers you need for assignments and detailed reading notes!

Recommended Texts

PONS,, and Linguee are the best online dictionaries. LEO and BEOLINGUS can also be useful. Click on them in the sidebar!

  • PONS is best for choosing the right word.
  • is easiest to use, has great “crowd-sourced” pronunciation samples, and lots of handy tools (Note the “Wildcard Search” option!).
  • Linguee shows you translations in context and has great pronunciation samples.
  • LEO provides easier access to noun plurals and verb conjugations, covers more technical terms, and has a great forum for tricky questions.
  • BEOLINGUS provides messy results, but useful examples.
  • If in doubt, check your results by a Google search and/or by comparing German and English wikipedia entries.

If you want a paper dictionary, try:

  • Langenscheidt Standard Dictionary German (Get the paperback version: much cheaper and easier to use!)
  • Harper Collins Beginner’s German Dictionary (Helpful usage examples; especially easy to read and use)

Marc-Uwe Kling: Die Känguru Chroniken [ISBN: 9783548372570]

  • Note: Kindle editions may not have the page numbers matching our assignments and detailed reading notes!
Zorach & Melin: English Grammar for Students of German, 6th ed. See below for more info!
Gabriel Wyner: Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It [ISBN: 0385348118]

Recommended Texts for “Abenteuer mit Deutsch”

Please wait for information on the “Abenteuer mit Deutsch” assignment to help you decide if you want to buy one of these. More info on these books is here.

Crossgrove & Crossgrove: Graded German Reader [Out of print, but any used copy would be good reading practice]
Hub/Mühle: An der Arche um Acht ISBN: 3423713925
Bürger: Münchhausens Abenteuer ISBN: 9783126754972
Sempé/Goscinny: Asterix der Gallier ISBN: 9783770436019

Course Components and Grading

Attendance & Participation 15%
Homework 10%
MindTap 10%
Essays, Rollenspiel 15%
Preparing a delicious SPAM-based feast 0%
Chapter Tests 25%
Final Exam 20%
Oral Exams 5%

Letter Grade / Point Value Conversions

You will receive letter grades for essays and role plays. These will be entered into Canvas as follows:

A+ 100 C+ 78
A 96 C 76
A- 92 C- 72
B+ 88 D+ 68
B 86 D 66
B- 82 D- 62

Canvas will convert your numerical final grades to letter grades as follows (Please note: at the final grade stage, there will be only minimal “rounding up”: e.g. 92.95-92.99 may be rounded up to a straight A, but 92.50, 92.60, 92.70, 92,80, 92.90, 92.94 would all translate into an A-, not an A):

98-100 A+ 77-79.99 C+
93-97.99 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

Canvas Expectations

We will use Canvas as the main tool for keeping track of the course, communication, course assignments, grades etc. It is expected that you will familiarize yourself with the class Canvas site and use it regularly to keep track of: 

  • Assignments  The easiest way to keep track of due dates for assignments is your calendar view in Canvas. It is expected that you carefully read the information/instructions in assignments, even if  there is nothing to submit!)
    • Assignments are due at the beginning of class. The due date time of 7 p.m. on Canvas is only there for logistical reasons!
  • Announcements: Enable notifications and check your email inbox daily OR: visit Canvas daily to check for new Announcements.
  • Gradebook: Please check regularly to make sure you have gotten credit for all assignments you have submitted, tests you have taken etc. Notify your instructor within a week of a grade being entered if you think there may be a mistake.
    • “A&P Tally”: Your instructors will enter a daily “Attendance & Participation Tally” grade, as described below. They will use the “comment” section of the assignment to explain any deductions from the maximum number of points available each day. 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!
    • ==> Please check Canvas regularly for instructor comments. Gradebook comments do not generate email notifications ==> log into Canvas to see them!

Oral Tests

Oral Tests will consist of two informal conversations via Zoom. Practicing for the oral exams using the “Sprechtestindexkarten” on Canvas is an excellent way to review what we have learned and to build your confidence in all aspects of German.You will sign up to take the oral exams in pairs (10-15 minute conversation) or groups of three (15-20 minute conversation); if that is not possible, you may take them individually (5-8 minute conversation). You may retake each of the two oral exams ONCE if you are not satisfied with how you did!

Class Attendance Expectations

Our class will meet via Zoom. Online attendance is required during the scheduled class times 10-12 am and 1-3 pm Monday through Thursday. Please read through following expectations: 

  • Find a place in your home where you can participate in class uninterrupted and where you can freely speak and practice your German during class. 
  • If possible, arrange a working space with a desk. Ideally, you will have a space for a notebook and writing supplies for in-class writing assignments and notes. We highly recommend using a paper copy of the textbook during class activities and for homework. 
  • Before the class starts, close all unrelated programs on your computer and mute your phone. 
  • We expect you to utilize both video and audio feeds while in class.  This is a language course and a great deal of communication depends upon facial expressions and body language. It’s difficult to build a relationship with a name on a blank screen.  We should be able to have direct eye-contact with you. 
  • Please give some thought to your environment. Lighting should be adjusted so that your face is not in shadow. Be aware of your appearance in general.  Don’t wear a hoodie that blocks a portion of your face from view.  When the weather gets hot, we still expect you to dress as you would dress for an in-person class (pajama pants are OK!).
  • Set your computer on a flat surface. It’s distracting when students have their laptops on their laps or beds, for example, and the image shifts with every move.  If you do need to leave the class, please mute your video, then step away.  
  • Your environment should be quiet. 
  • We ask that you do not eat during class. Again, it’s distracting. Having a beverage at hand is fine. 
  • If connectivity issues interfere with your ability to meet these expectations, please email your instructors immediately. 

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:
  • For 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. connectivity issues, 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, going to 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 does have an achievement component. 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 for every four class hours.
    • BUT: We expect mistakes! Research has shown that language acquisition happens in a predictable sequence of stages. Each stage is characterized by certain patterns of mistakes. So: you have to make mistakes in order to learn!! ==> Difficulty participating (on an ongoing basis) may reduce your A&P grade. Making mistakes will not!
  • Sprachlabor. Each week, your instructors will provide you with a plan for additional communicative activities in German. These are mandatory. They include meeting with instructors for conversation practice during office hours, meeting with classmates and practicing conversation, creating recordings of you reading aloud or reciting poetry, or keeping an audio diary. Plan to spend additional two hours a week on Sprachlabor.  You will miss 1-4 attendance points for not completing Sprachlabor for the week.
  • Absence Make-Ups/Participation Bonus: You can earn 2 make-up/bonus participation points for attending events such as
    • 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 May, and up to 10 more in June.
  • 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 & Participation 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 & Participation grade will be the same as your “A&P Tally” grade.


All homework assignments will be submitted on Canvas as a Google doc.  Please always give editing access to BOTH of your instructors.

  • Logistics for worksheets: Download the worksheet, copy and paste it into a NEW Google Doc; give your instructors edit access; THEN type your answers.

Homework is graded on a scale of “check”/”check +”/”check -“:

  • Check” (2 points on Canvas): the “normal” homework grade
  • Check +” (3): the assignment has been done exceptionally well
  • Check –” (1): the assignment is late, incomplete, or done poorly
    • Assignments are due at the beginning of class. The due date time of 5 p.m. on Canvas is only there for logistical reasons!
    • Homework will not be accepted if it is more than two class days late (unless there is a good reason)
  • Missing assignments receive 0 points on Canvas
  • We will translate your final “Homework Tally” grade into your actual Homework grade for the semester as follows:
    • 125-150% ==> 100% for the final Homework grade
    • 115-124.99% ==> 98% for the final Homework grade
    • 96-114.99% ==> 96% for the final Homework grade (i.e. an “A”)
    • 95.99% or less: Your final Homework grade will be the same as your “Homework Tally” grade.
  • ==> To make sure you are on track for an “A” for your homework grade, look for an average of 96% or above in your overall Canvas Homework Tally grade.

Learning By Speaking; Language Learning Anxiety

The best and most motivating way to learn all aspects of language (vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, fluency, etc.) is by speaking. We will use as much class time as possible to let you speak. We use a lot of partner and group activities in smaller break-out rooms on Zoom, so that you can speak for most of each class hour, rather than just once or twice when your instructor calls on you. When in the break-out room, please use the time as much as you can to practice German. If you are stuck, use the “ask for help” button. If you are done with an activity and not yet “called” back, spend some time chatting in German about anything!

The activities are meant to be interesting and fun. You will learn the most by relaxing, having fun, and experimenting with new words and structures without worrying too much about mistakes.

The in-class activities are designed to let you actively practice the chapter vocabulary. Building your vocabulary is the most important part of learning a language, MUCH more important than learning grammar. Please ask about unfamiliar words, and please try to experiment with new vocabulary we are learning during these activities. This will save you a lot of memorization time before the tests – AND it will make it much easier to learn and practice grammar!

We spend very little time explaining grammar in class, but we will constantly be practicing it. Research has shown that grammar is learned most efficiently and lastingly by using it to communicate, not by explanations and drills. You will watch video explanations at home, and practice with worksheets and online exercises. Watch the videos attentively: pause, rewind, take notes, write down questions, and review them regularly. Class activities will clear up many questions “automatically.” When the class needs it, your instructor will provide explicit explanations. Please ask questions when you have them: that is essential to making this work! You should focus on communicating in class, but also notice consciously how the activities review and practice new and old grammar.

Language Learning Anxiety

Researchers have found that about 1/3 of students feel anxious when learning a new language, in part because their limited language proficiency keeps them from “being themselves” when using the new language. They suggest two things that may be helpful in this context:

  • Know that you are not alone. Consider letting your instructor know how you feel.
  • Anxiety is often connected to perfectionism. As we will keep telling you throughout this course, your goal in speaking German should not be to “avoid mistakes,” but rather, to “keep talking”!

Language Learning Advice

  • HAVE FUN!! Make up amusing sentences. Notice cultural differences. Notice words you like. Enjoy funny mistakes you make. Notice your progress. Listen for interesting things your classmates say, and for differences and things you have in common. Get to know new music, movies, cartoons, stories, characters. See how your ideas evolve when you try to express them simply in a new language. Think in German, or “Denglisch” [Deutsch + Englisch]. Say random things in German to your friends. Try fun activities from class in your “regular” life. Daydream about living in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, or make actual plans to go there – ETC.!
  • ASK QUESTIONS!! For every question you ask, there are likely to be multiple other students who will be grateful you asked it.
  • FIGHT PERFECTIONISM! (1) Don’t worry about mistakes. Making mistakes is an essential part of learning a language. The more you speak, the more you learn; the less you obsess about mistakes, the more you can speak and the more conversations you can have. (2) When you hear or read German, make it your goal to understand the message, as opposed to trying to understand every word. Research has shown that students who look up every unknown word when they read actually understand and retain LESS than students who look up only the words they need in order to follow the text. Use your knowledge and common sense to help you fill in the gaps, as you would in English e.g. when you are having a conversation in a noisy place. If you know what a word probably means, don’t look it up unless what you read or hear later suggests that your guess must have been wrong.
  • …BUT DO PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL! Fight perfectionism in the ways described above – but DO pay just enough attention to little details so that your brain can slowly, unconsciously notice and absorb them. 98% of your attention should go to the meaning of what you’re saying and hearing – but leave 2% for the details: the forms of articles, the endings of verbs, nouns and adjectives. That tiny bit of “noticing” in the back of your mind can make a huge difference over time. When your instructor repeats something you’ve said, try to notice whether any changes s/he makes are corrections, or just a different way of saying the same thing. If you’re writing an essay, DO take the time to look up verb forms, and the genders and plurals of nouns; if you’re doing a regular homework assignment, just pick one or two things to look up that feel important to you.
  • Find a study partner! You’ll have more fun, two heads are better than one, and you never learn a thing as well as when you try to explain it to someone else.
  • Click on this page with General Language Learning Advice for additional ideas, including headings such as
    • Work in small chunks
    • SPEAK!!
    • Grammar matters. Vocabulary matters more!

Respectful Classroom Environment

This class really depends on all of us being comfortable interacting informally with each other, experimenting with the language, taking risks, and being playful. That makes what is important in every college classroom especially important for us: that the classroom should be a comfortable environment in which everyone feels welcome and respected. That means thinking about the things we say, not perpetuating stereotypes, and apologizing if we say something we 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 – or if you believe your own words or actions have made someone else in the class feel uncomfortable – so that we can talk about how to make things better. If in doubt, please say something: your instructor will always be happy to hear from you.

  • Please look carefully at these Guidelines for Classroom Interactions!
  • Please make an effort to get to know the people in this section, and be open to making new friends!
  • 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 and Gender Pronouns in German

One simple way to maintain an open and inclusive classroom environment is to be mindful and respectful of our classmates’ gender identity and preferred pronouns for class discussion and speaking activities. This will also be good practice for all of us to have before visiting the German-speaking countries. 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. If you identify outside the gender binary or have any other concerns about gender pronouns, your instructor will be happy to meet with you to find a solution that empowers you to comfortably participate in in-class language practice. This will include planning for how best to communicate this solution to your classmates, and how to set realistic expectations in a context where language mistakes of all kinds are an important and expected part of the learning process.

In the German language, nouns denoting people and professions also frequently have different forms based on a binary grammatical gender (e.g. der Student = the male student, die Studentin = the female student). In addition to being inherently problematic as regards non-binary gender identities, this has in the past led to absurd conventions such as using the male plural for mixed-gender groups, or ignoring the female forms of nouns when making general references to students, members of a profession etc. Your instructor will attempt to model an inclusive use of gendered nouns. This can be difficult to do consistently in German, and people differ as to how it should be done. Your instructor may also intentionally use multiple approaches. Please let your instructor know if you have any questions about this as you proceed through the course!

Help and Resources

  • Your instructors’ office hours: Your instructors will be happy to meet with you outside of class time by appointment. Use the link on the Canvas home page to sign up for an office hour time, or email your instructors to request a time outside of office hours. Please take advantage of this resource – don’t be shy!!
  • Language Program Director: Hartmut Rastalsky (3214 MLB; 647-0404). Your instructors may pass some questions on to Hartmut. Let Hartmut know if you notice broken links or find a great learning resource!
  • English Grammar for Students of German: This book explains English grammar simply, with lots of English & German examples to compare and contrast. It’s the ideal remedy if you’re having difficulty understanding the grammar explanations you encounter in class and for homework. We recommend that you read the relevant sections of the book quickly, like a novel, but that you read them multiple times, to let the material slowly sink in. The book is available at the campus bookstores as recommended reading for this course. 
  • LS&A Academic Advising ((734) 764-0332). If you are falling behind or doing poorly in one or more courses, or just want advice on how to study more effectively, please contact an academic advisor as soon as possible: the earlier you try to address the problem, the better your chances of solving it. If you are not an LS&A student, please consult the Academic Advising Office for your school.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

If you may need an accommodation for a disability, please let your instructor know. Tests and other aspects of this course may be modified to facilitate your participation and progress. Appropriate accommodations are determined by the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office, in consultation with instructors. SSD (; (734) 763-3000) typically recommends accommodations through a Verified Individualized Services and Accommodations (VISA) form. If/When you receive a VISA form from SSD, please present it to your instructor as soon as possible, so s/he can implement the appropriate accommodations. Any information you provide is private and confidential and will be treated as such.

If you begin to notice a disproportion between how hard you are working and the results you are achieving, but you are unsure whether or not to contact SSD, please consider the following:

  • A diagnosis from SSD may make you eligible for accommodations that will help you more accurately demonstrate your abilities in all your courses.
  • In addition to diagnosing a disability and recommending possible accommodations, SSD can direct you to advice and resources that may help you to minimize the effects of this disability over the years, and to harness the abilities and talents that often accompany such disabilities.
  • It is possible that SSD may not diagnose a disability. This may help you to decide on next steps, such as contacting Academic Advising or Counseling Services, or seeking advice from your instructors, your family, your friends, or others.

Mental Health Resources

The University of Michigan is committed to advancing the mental health and wellbeing of its students. If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed, depressed, and/or in need of support, services are available. For help, contact Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at (734) 764-8312 and during and after hours, on weekends and holidays, or through its counselors physically located in schools on both Central and North Campus. You may also consult University Health Service (UHS) at (734) 764-8320 and, or for alcohol or drug concerns, see

For a listing of other mental health resources available on and off campus, visit:

Student Sexual Misconduct Policy

The University of Michigan is committed to fostering a safe, productive learning environment. Title IX and our school policy prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, and all forms of sexual misconduct, including harassment, domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. We encourage students who have experienced some form of sexual misconduct to talk to someone about their experience, so they can get the support they need.

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) provides free and confidential crisis intervention, advocacy, and support for survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking and sexual harassment who are University of Michigan students, faculty and staff. SAPAC can be reached on their 24-hour crisis line, 734-936-3333 and at Violations can also be non-confidentially reported to the Office for Institutional Equity (OIE) at Reports to law enforcement can be made to the University of Michigan Police Department at 734-763-3434.

Academic Integrity, Essays and Homework

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). All work submitted must be original student work produced for this course, with proper quotation and citation of the contributions of others. 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. Click here to see the official LSA pages on Academic Integrity, including a quiz on Academic Integrity.

ESSAYS: The four essays you submit for this course are where this policy crucially applies. It is your responsibility to demonstrate that your essay is your work by following the instructions for citing sources carefully. Failure to do so may result in a citation for academic dishonesty. These instructions are integrated into each essay assignment. The instructions for essays in this course are available here.

Test Essays and Homework: No Need to Cite Sources! The above instructions for citing sources apply only to the four essay assignments in this course. They do NOT apply to regular homework assignments, or to essays you draft for the chapter tests. Read on for more details!

Test Essays: As with regular essays, you should view test essays as an opportunity to put into practice what you have learned. Leaf through the course materials to find ideas. You can be very creative in this way, and you will learn much more from writing the essays. Applying something you have learned will “make it stick,” much more than new words and phrases you look up.

Test review sheets for this course will always include the essay topics for the test. You are allowed (and even encouraged!) to get help from others when drafting your test essays. Online translator use is also permitted, but discouraged. 

  • If you do use an online translator for a longer phrase or sentence when drafting a test essay, take a moment to reflect consciously on how the resulting German phrase/sentence works, what you can learn from it, and whether you could have said the same thing more simply using what we have learned: this will make the difference between learning more and learning less!

Homework: You are allowed (and even encouraged!) to get help from others and to collaborate with classmates on homework; you may also use online translators and other sources without citing them. Although you are not required to cite your sources, we encourage you to do so if you have time. Your instructor can then give you feedback on your use of these resources. In many cases, this feedback will be positive: s/he may encourage you to continue getting help from the person who helped you, or may let you know that you are using translation resources well (which is a difficult and valuable skill to learn). If your instructor is concerned that you are getting too much help and/or making excessive use of online translators and not learning as much as you could from the assignments, s/he will discuss this with you.