German 204, Fall 2004
Section 5, MTWF 1:20 - 2:10, Van Hise 355
Nancy ThuleenOffice Hours:
Email: web@nthuleen.comTue 12:00-1:00
Course Website: by appointment
Office Phone: 263-2590Office: Van Hise 847

Course Supervisor: Monika Chavez, Associate Professor of GermanOffice Hours: Mon 10-12
Email: mmchavez@wisc.eduOffice: Van Hise 846

German Department Main Office: Van Hise 818Hours: 8:00-12:00, 1:00-4:00
Phone: 262-2192closed during lunch hour

Books and MaterialsLearning GoalsGrading CriteriaDaily Schedule

Required Textbooks:

KaleidoskopMoeller, Liedloff, Adolph, Mabee, Berger. Kaleidoskop: Kultur, Literatur und Grammatik. SIXTH EDITION. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002. ISBN: 0-618-10312-0

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UebungsbuchMoeller, Liedloff, Adolph, Mabee, Berger. Übungsbuch: Kaleidoskop. SIXTH EDITION. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002. ISBN: 0-618-10319-8

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Please note that the textbook consists of 10 Themen which contain the reading texts on cultural topics (Kulturlesestücke;) and short literature (Literarische Werke) as well as general explanations on culture, vocabulary, grammar, and related activities. In addition, the 10 Kapitel, separately arranged at the end of the book, contain the "hard core" grammar, i.e., what is meant by Grammatik in the syllabus. The 10 Themen and the 10 Kapitel are arranged consecutively, i.e., all 10 Themen are presented together, followed by all 10 Kapitel, so that some flipping back and forth is necessary. The 10 Kapitel are followed by grammar charts, including a list of irregular verbs, which in turn are followed by a German-English vocabulary list. Themen and Kapitel 1 - 5 are covered in German 203; Themen and Kapitel 6 - 10 in German 204.

Recommended Text:

GrammarZorach, Cecile and Charlotte Melin. English Grammar for Students of German. Olivia & Hill Press, 2001.

If you are not familiar with the basic grammar terminology used in class (relative pronouns, comparative adjectives), please consider buying this book as a reference. It offers a refreshing explanation of German vs. English grammar, and is often very helpful for students of all levels. However, it is not required and will never be assigned, merely suggested.

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Please, if you don't already have one, get yourself a good dictionary. There are many on the market, and any will do if what you want to look up is not too complicated. However, if you intend to move on past this class (even just to the next semester), you'll begin feeling constrained by a pocket-sized mini-dictionary. We usually suggest looking for a dictionary with at least 100,000 entries. Here are a few suggestions, starting with the department's standard recommendation and two other common choices:
WörterbuchHarper-Collins Concise German Dictionary
With over 195,000 entries and the cheapest of the mid-size dictionaries, this one is the standard recommendation for German courses here at the UW.

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WörterbuchKlett's Modern German and English Dictionary
A very new edition, and although I haven't personally used it, the inclusion of modern (i.e. computer-related and other) vocabulary sounds promising.

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WörterbuchWebster's New World German Dictionary
A good, solid dictionary with lots of entries and easy-to-read explanations.

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The only dictionaries I personally do not recommend are the normal paperback-sized Bantam New College German Dictionary, and the Langenscheidt mini-mini-mini paperback dictionary. Although you may be able to get through this semester with something like that, you'll find yourself falling behind in terms of vocabulary and mismatched meanings, and by next semester you'll need to purchase a different one, so please consider spending a little extra now, and save yourself the headache.

Digital Learning Lab:

Pronunciation and listening for comprehension are essential skills and need to be emphasized when learning German. Although old-fashioned tapes are still being played in the language lab (on the second floor of Van Hise Hall), most of you will want to listen to the listening texts from the textbook as well as the workbook exercises online. To access these texts online (in MP3 format), please follow the following steps:

(1) Go to the LSS (Learning Support Services) website at

(2) Scroll down to select a Thema or Kapitel and an exercise to hear.

(3) You will be asked to enter a user name (which is "gr203") and a password (which is "kaleidoskop"). Please DO NOT enter the quotes and be aware that both user name and password are case sensitive, i.e., need to be entered in lower case letters.

Books and MaterialsLearning GoalsGrading CriteriaDaily Schedule

Lernziele (Learning Goals)

Please note, as explained in the context of the quizzes (below), that the second year German audience generally comes from varied backgrounds, each with particular strengths and weaknesses in grammar (and other linguistic) knowledge. We will try to accommodate everyone to the best of our abilities but quite likely we will not succeed all the time. Please bear with a pace which at times may seem too slow and at others too fast. If the pace seems very slow already at the beginning, consult with your instructor and consider enrolling in the next higher course (German 204 or 225, respectively). If the pace appears too fast consistently, discuss with your instructor whether you should register for a less-advanced course (German 203 or 102, respectively). If you feel you are falling behind only on some issues or topics, get help as soon as possible. Visit your instructor's office hours, study with your peers (whom you may be able to help on other issues or topics), get a tutor (even for a little while), and dedicate extra time to self-study. Your instructor may be able to recommend certain additional works or readings. Your instructor may wish to help you evaluate whether you are placed in the right course by giving you special tasks during the first two days of class.

At any rate, it is important that you raise concerns regarding the pace of the course as soon as they arise and seek constructive solutions. The placement test which you have taken is but one tool to find the right course for you. Please keep an open mind as to which course is appropriate for you. Much depends on how comfortable you are in a challenging environment or whether you prefer to take little steps at a time. Whereas no course will meet all your needs exactly, you should devote some time in the beginning of the semester to find a course which suits your needs reasonably well. Should you decide to leave a course for another, please inform your former instructor of your plans.

German 204 aims to help you accomplish the following goals:

Goal 1
To review the German grammar and achieve higher levels of and greater consistency in grammatical accuracy.

Goal 2
To expand vocabulary knowledge so that you will be able: (a) to talk and write about and comprehend a greater variety of topics; and (b) to talk and write about and comprehend already familiar topics with greater precision, i.e. so that you know more and more differentiated words to describe similar concepts or actions. You will also learn to learn and retain vocabulary more efficiently and according to your personal preferences.

Goal 3
To learn how to write appropriate to certain genres, i.e., to select the appropriate style (e.g. relying heavily on nouns or verbs or adjectives; selecting the correct tense) and to organize a writing assignment according to certain rules (e.g. re the progression of paragraphs etc.)

Goal 4
To develop successful reading strategies, according to different definitions of comprehension (e.g. getting the gist, being able to recount the content; analyze and interpret the content etc.) and to practice reading at the example of a variety of text types and text topics.

Goal 5
To improve listening abilities and strategies, through interaction in class and also through exposure to absolutely authentic and unedited native German speech, mainly in videos.

Goal 6
To learn more about the cultures of the German speaking countries at the example of contemporary issues such as the environment, politics, historic developments etc., and at the example of literary works.

Goal 7
To develop your speaking and listening abilities so that you will be able to converse with untrained (i.e., not used to English speakers; no professional German teachers etc.) native speakers of German on a variety of topics of general issues.

These learning goals are reflected in the evaluation criteria, described below.

Books and MaterialsLearning GoalsGrading CriteriaDaily Schedule

Beschreibung der Bewertungskriterien (Explanation of Grading Criteria/Assignments)

5 Grammatik/Vokabelquizzes (@ 5% each)25%
3 ("kurze") Schreibprojekte (@ 5% each)15%
1 ("langes") Schreibprojekt10%
3 Leseprüfungen (@ 5% each)15%
2 mündliche Projekte oder Prüfungen (@ 5% each)10%
[Minus Abwesenheiten]

Final grade is based on the following percentage break downs:
92+% = A; 89-91.9% = AB; 82-88.9% = B; 79-81.9% = BC; 70-78.9% = C; 60-69.9 = D; 0-59.9% = F

1. grammar/vocabulary quizzes (5):

At the end of each (grammar) chapter, there will be a short quiz (generally less than the 50 minutes in each class period) focusing on the vocabulary and features of grammar discussed in the respective chapter. Grammatical accuracy and straightforward knowledge of individual vocabulary items will be the primary grading criteria. The purpose of these quizzes is to make sure that you are familiar with and have a basic understanding of these discrete points of grammar and discrete vocabulary items.

Traditionally, our second year program is composed of students from various backgrounds and different types of prior knowledge. It is quite likely that you will find that the discussion and practice of grammar or vocabulary items moves too fast for you on some occasions and too slowly on others. We are trying to accommodate everyone as well as possible but will fall short of our ideal, due to our varied audience. Please bear with what you to perceive to be too slow presentations and seek alternative resources (office hours, tutoring, peer consultations, self-study) on those occasions when the course progresses too fast.

Examples of what you will be asked to do on such quizzes are:
stating grammar rules;
identifying correct rules;
identifying correct or incorrect forms in a sequence or a text;
completing or generating correct sentences;
inserting correct forms into blanks;
giving the correct English or German equivalent of a vocabulary item;
ordering vocabulary items according to certain criteria (e.g., matching opposites, synonyms etc.);
the quizzes may also contain one or more listening comprehension section/s.

2. Schreibprojekte:

Please note that the syllabus gives only due dates. You must begin with your projects (even the short-term ones) well in advance so as to take advantage of the various developmental/feedback activities. There are "check dates", however. Your instructor may use these to have the class compare notes, perform portions of the project for a larger audience (if suitable), etc. You will still be able to (or need to) make changes after check dates.

The grammar quizzes described above are meant to ensure that you have been (what is quite oddly called) "introduced" to certain distinct and discrete points of grammar. However, such discrete and non-contextual knowledge poorly reflects the overall goals of the course or foreign language learning in general. Naturally, it is more desirable to be able to use these "grammar items" to convey certain communicative messages and intentions and to employ a given form correctly not by itself but together with other, related forms. Thus, more comprehensive writing assignments are better suited to help in the development of your expressive skills. It is also important to note that when we write (as when we speak), we must consider the audience which we address. Please keep in mind that the teacher is NOT necessarily your primary audience. The teacher's role is to help you communicate effectively with your intended audience. Your audience may comprise one or more of your peers in class, the entire class, an office or institution, the entire class, a friend or family member, or yourself (e.g., in a diary or what-to-do list). Finally, keep in mind that style and format ("genre") need to be adjusted to accommodate your intended audience and purpose. As an extreme example, it would be just as inappropriate to write a letter composed only of single words and phrases as it would be to make yourself a to-do list which resembles an essay. In short, look upon grammar as a tool which must be used as correctly as possible to be effective. However, do not regard grammar as an end in itself.

Pay attention to

the use of specific, new, and precise words (yes, there are verbs besides machen, gehen, trinken, and schlafen);
the format and structure of the presentation, e.g., introductory phrases, paragraphs, long or short sentences, etc., depending on the genre;
stylistics, e.g., irony, humor, objectivity, subjectivity, etc., depending on what you mean to accomplish by your writing;
your audience's reaction, both as you expect it to be as you write your first draft or as you know it to be once you have submitted your first draft to the teacher, friends, or other students in class.

All Schreibprojekte consist of several parts and phases:

a. In-class and out-of-class activities: Your instructor will prepare specific activities for you to complete in class which may be evaluated separately from your work at home. Your work at home and in-class will be different so as to draw on the unique advantages offered by each environment. In class, for example, you may review the work of others, provide specific and helpful comments, compare your ideas with those of others, have your own work critiqued, and ask questions which you cannot resolve on your own, for example how to use a dictionary, questions concerning factual knowledge about the topic or concerning grammar or how to approach writing tasks strategically. At home, you will have more to time for reflection, planning, the generation or refinement of ideas, careful rewriting, grammar check, or to access sources which are not readily available in class, such as books, internet websites, or people with whom you wish to exchange ideas who are not in class.

b. topic selection and planning: selecting an appropriate genre, determining the structure/progression of the written piece; selecting an appropriate style and tone (funny, serious, noun-heavy, verb-heavy etc.), formulating and if possible sequencing ideas and arguments, and writing down and/or looking up words or expressions you want to use. Topic and genre selection will depend on the content of a respective chapter. Suggestions can come from the textbook (e.g. "Zur Diskussion/Zum Schreiben"), the teacher, yourself, other students in the class, friends, family, the media etc.

c. (three) short-term projects versus (one) long-term project: Both types of assignment will follow the essentially same format of multiple drafts and multiple types and sources of review. The long-term project in particular will encourage your to communicate with others and use sources from outside the classroom. It will also allow you to develop your writing over prolonged periods of time and trace your own progress.

Examples of possible short assignments are:

writing and responding to a letter;
an editorial
a (e.g. literary) review/report or a film review
retelling a story (with or without alterations)
completing a story
inventing a story (narrative)
descriptions (of actions, things, persons, places etc.)
statements (of problems, positions etc.)
pro/con discussions, arguments
recommendations, solutions
instructions / giving tips
text analysis/interpretation
reactions, etc.

Examples of possible long-term assignments are:

objective reports of ongoing events (e.g., what happened in class today; daily weather reports; daily newscasts; what I did at work today)
subjective reports of ongoing events (e.g., diaries; how I feel about X [my roommate, German class], etc.)
regular publications, such as a class newspaper
a portfolio of an ongoing communicative exchange (e.g., a collection of letters or emails exchanged with a friend, pen pal, a peer in class, etc.)
a study based on independently researched information (e.g., a subject matter that has always interested you)
interviews with students in class, the teacher, members of the university or city communities, etc.

LENGTH/WORD COUNT: Your instructor will let you know how long each project should be. Length/word count may vary from assignment to assignment and will range from 100 - 300 words (for short-term projects) to an upper limit of 800 words (for long-term projects).

d. draft & review: Again, it is important that it is not only the teacher who acts as reviewer and editor of your work. As a matter of fact, you should look at the teacher as your last recourse. More importantly, critique you own work (put it away for a while, then look at it again) and invite others to do so. Focus on one criterion (e.g. clarity of the message; one or several grammar points; vocabulary choice; style; format; etc.) at a time. Then, carefully consider the suggestions receive and deal with them in a thoughtful manner, i.e., do not merely "implement changes" but ask whether and why you should and which effects these changes will have for the entire piece. Set yourself goals and determine how to achieve them, with the combined effort of yourself, your peers, the teacher, and resources from outside the class. Most of all, remember that this process-oriented approach requires time. Do not write a draft the night before it is due. Take your time to think and rethink.

When reviewing your work or having it reviewed by others, set concrete goals, i.e.,things to examine specifically. You could, for example, focus on:

• accuracy on certain selected grammar items (selected by yourself or the teacher)
overall accuracy
communicative accuracy (i.e., is it accurate enough to communicate your message)
• sophistication and precision (in vocabulary, structure etc.)
appropriateness (relative to the genre or communicative intent) of style and tone
effectiveness and overall interest to the reader

When evaluating your work, your teacher will also let you know in advance to which features s/he will be paying particular attention. You may wish to talk this over with your teacher so as to agree upon goals which fit your specific needs best.

Each assignment will consist of several drafts, whereby not all need to be evaluated by the teacher. Your teacher will explain to you on which drafts s/he will provide feedback, what type of feedback it will be, and how the evaluation of a given draft will be computed with regard to the total percentage assigned to the project.

At the beginning of the semester, your instructor will discuss with you standards of ethical behavior in academia and, specifically, foreign language writing, including those that pertain to the use of technological resources. These explanations will include the use of on-line dictionaries and appropriate use of other on-line materials, such as foreign language websites, in your own work.

The use of translation programs is categorically prohibited for any work submitted as your own.

Please know that it is not very difficult for an instructor to recognize plagiarized work. Inaccurate incorporations, typos in the English input (which result in inaccurate or even missing German translations), and - most tellingly - a stark differential in stylistic sophistication by comparison to a student's usual work, including the use of regional varieties, are sure giveaways.

It is also not permissible to have friends (German or otherwise), previous instructors, or any other person not specifically pre-approved by the instructor, correct or edit or otherwise alter/improve any work you submit for academic credit.

Violations of standards of academic honesty will not be tolerated. Punishments may include a lowering of the grade, no credit for dishonest work, expulsion from the course, a notation on your academic record, and others, deemed appropriate by the instructor, the course supervisor, or deans. For specific penalty options and procedures, please visit

3. Homework:

Besides the writing assignments, there will be additional homework, mostly in preparation of working with reading texts or videos or of discussion of grammar points. The need to take homework assignments seriously cannot be overemphasized. Already, in-class time available is minimal in view of the goal, i.e., to learn (to speak, read, comprehend, and write) German. It is essential to prepare as much as possible at home so as to free up class time for activities which you cannot be completed by yourself: for example, conversations, exchanges of ideas etc.

Examples of what you can complete at home in preparation of grammar lessons are: reading explanations, memorizing rules and forms such endings, and practicing with rote, drill, and repetitive exercises.

Examples of what you can complete at home in preparation of text or video activities are: familiarizing yourself with the topic and (often cultural) background knowledge, becoming aware of what type or degree of comprehension will be expected, identifying the genre and its attendant style or tone, gaining control of the vocabulary necessary to obtain the desired level of comprehension (NOT every word), identifying common and critical grammar structures (e.g. indirect speech; subjunctive etc.), and perhaps reading the text itself.

Homework assignments may be derived from the textbook or workbook, be created by the teacher, or generated from self-interest. Most often, the teacher will not assign a grade but rather consider the homework completed or omitted (plus/minus). The teacher may choose not to accept incomplete, late, or obviously sloppily completed assignments.

In sum, it is very important to acknowledge that the conscientious completion of homework assignments does not only benefit yourself but - because it makes crucial class time available - is a responsibility you have towards the other students in the class.

4. Leseprüfungen (3):

To reflect the prominence of reading skills in the course, there will be three 50-minute in-class reading exams. They will focus on one single reading and contain pre-reading activities of the type you practice for other reading assignments. Reading comprehension will be measured through different means in English. Examples of comprehension check activities are true/false, multiple choice, completion of statements, plot and paragraph summaries, audience reaction, and analysis or interpretation. You may use a dictionary but are not allowed to confer with others in the class or the teacher.

In order to further help you develop your reading skills, in the beginning of the course, your teacher will offer you a brief introduction to basic reading techniques and strategies as well as to strategies of vocabulary learning and retention, and dictionary use.

5. Mündliche Projekte oder Prüfungen (2):

Twice a semester two days (each) have been set aside to check and provide you with feedback on your oral (speaking) skills. Your instructor will decide and inform you of his/her evaluation criteria, and the topic/s and format of the projects or exams.

Evaluation criteria may include all or any of the following: accuracy on specific grammar forms; overall grammatical accuracy; appropriateness of language (e.g. the use of the correct tense or form of address, such as Sie versus du); sophistication of grammatical structures (e.g. using subordinate clauses instead of a string of main clauses), sophistication and precision of vocabulary, content familiarity (e.g., have you read or comprehended a particular text), accuracy of pronunciation and intonation, listening skills (e.g., are you responding to the question as it was asked), and general communicative ability (e.g., who could understand your German: an untrained native speaker; a trained native speaker; a professional German teacher; nobody?).

Topics will be related to the respective readings and videos. Possible formats include a traditional question/answer interview with the instructor or with the instructor and one or more other students; role-plays based on readings; reenactments or retellings of stories; statements of opinion, analysis, or interpretation regarding a reading, video or its implicit cultural content; prepared presentations on a given topic; interviews with peers or others outside the class; newscasts (e.g. creating a news report/show based on a reading); (prepared) panel discussions on a topic, recitals of memorized text; oral descriptions (of actions, people, places etc.), prepared or improvised dramatic performances, and narration of personal experiences. You will prepare for these projects or exams through regular and intense home-study and classroom participation. For example, your teacher may wish to make a point of providing regular opportunities for individual oral practice in class. Such activities may consist of standard pair and group work, reading aloud to peers or the whole class, recitals, or any of the activities outlined above ("possible formats") in abbreviated form.

6. Class participation:

Although it is difficult to transcend subjective factors in evaluating class participation, there are several explicit criteria. They include preparedness and the subsequent ability to make valuable contributions to the course. In turn, valuable contributions are, among others, volunteering relevant information, asking questions whose answers benefit the group at large, the ability to provide intelligent answers to the teacher's and peers' questions, the ability to engage in productive group and pair work, the ability to provide useful feedback to peers (for example, on writing assignments), and the contribution of relevant personal experiences and observations. The teacher might also opt to use announced or pop quizzes to check whether or how well you read a text or prepared grammar explanations at home and count these quiz grades toward class participation.

Finally, please note that coming to class in itself is not considered evidence of good "class participation", rather it is a prerequisite!

7. Attendance:

The university community has often reiterated the need to encourage students toward regular attendance. The German Department, as indeed most foreign language departments, has long recognized that attendance is an issue of utmost importance with regard to making good progress, not only for individual students but the classroom community - which is interdependent for practice opportunities - as a whole. We therefore feel obliged to set quite strict standards regarding attendance. Please know that this is by no means intended to make your life harder but rather to allow the teacher to be able to count on everybody being in attendance when planning lessons and to allow your peers to be fairly certain that they will have someone for communicative practice and feedback and that pair or group work begun in a previous class meeting can be continued or finished in the next. Also, unfortunately, our testing practices are not comprehensive and probably never will be. It is thus simply not true that if you take all the tests and do well, it shows you are learning everything there is to learn in the course. You need to be there and participate.

Our policy is to allow four absences per semester without further penalty. The four absences may, for example, be incurred because of illnesses or personal business. Each additional absence will result in a one percent (1%) deduction from the final grade percentage. Religious holidays are exempt from this policy, i.e., absences due to religious holidays will not be counted BUT you must make arrangements for your absence with your instructor ahead of time.

Please do not use the absences deliberately, early in the semester, expecting to stay healthy later on. Although very regrettable, absences for medical reasons are no different than other absences, in the sense that your work does not get done and participation cannot be made up. In the event of a major illness (physical or mental) or other crisis which triggers absences, please contact your instructor to explore the possibility of dropping the class in time to prevent a low grade on your transcript. Due to the nature of the course, THERE ARE NO GRADES OF "INCOMPLETE".

If you are experiencing problems and would like assistance from the university, please contact the McBurney Center: or OR the Dean of Students, Please do know that letters from the McBurney Center or the Dean of Students do not absolve you of your obligations toward the course, including attendance.

Inform your instructor of your absence in advance, whenever possible. This greatly helps with conveying assignments, lesson planning, and saving handouts. Telling your instructor about an absence helps you stay on track, or at least get back on it. However, telling does not mean the absence does not count. Also, any extra help your instructor gives you is at the instructor's discretion. Instructors do not teach independent studies or internet/email courses.

Absence from class does not absolve you from turning in due assignments or becoming aware of any new assignment due dates. Quizzes or exams (other than during religious holidays) can only be made up with the instructor's consent and at the instructor's discretion.

8. No mid-term or final:

Several circumstances make foreign language classes different from other academic courses and at the same time render collective major exams less desirable. For one, continuous participation and preparation is required; cramming is impossible; the belief that one can "catch-up" at the last minute (or within a few days) is detrimental to one's own performance as well as the content and climate of the course as a whole. Second, language proficiency is based on a confluence of factors so that one can hardly identify certain "points" which one needs to know or even can know, independently of each other. Third, performance in a foreign language is closely tied to external factors such as fatigue, anxiety, or stress. As a consequence, an individual's performance tends to fluctuate. It thus seems counter-productive and even unfair to assign a large percentage of the final grade based on a single performance. In sum, there will be no mid-term or final.

Books and MaterialsLearning GoalsGrading CriteriaDaily Schedule