so lernen wir deutsch

Syllabus: How the course works, ATs, Guidelines, Expectations, Assessment, and Extras

Willkommen! So lernen wir Deutsch an Davidson.

We work in German as much as possible, but some basics here in English. Our main textbook also uses English for guidelines and explanations. If something is in German, we mean for you to try to understand it.

wann und wo

In diesem Kurs treffen wir uns 5 Mal in einer Woche! So ist das:

Montags mit Prof. McCarthy
Einführung in die Woche, Fokus auf Wortschatz

Dienstags in AT mit [update] (Übungsstunde in Kleingruppen) — to be scheduled; ATs begin second week (5. September ist die erste AT-Stunde)
Übung, Wiederholung, Zusammenarbeit mit euren Gruppen in der AT-Stunde

Mittwochs mit Prof. McCarthy
intensive Arbeit mit Wortschatz im Kontext

Donnerstags in AT in AT mit [update] (Übungsstunde in Kleingruppen)
Lerngruppen in AT-Gruppen

Freitags mit Prof. McCarthy
Vorzeigen, vorspielen—euer Lernen der Gruppe zeigen auch durch die Freitagsprüfung. Es gibt jede Woche Freitag eine Prüfung.

Weekly Structure:

  • Montags – Einführung in die Woche, Fokus auf Wortschatz und Grammatik
  • Dienstags – AT Strukturen und Wortschatz üben
  • Mittwochs – intensive Arbeit mit Wortschatz und Grammatik im kulturellen Kontext
  • Donnerstags – AT + Lerngruppen
  • Freitags – Sprachproduktion; zeigen, was du gelernt hast

In addition to these five weekly meetings, you will also attend:

  • Treffpunkt Deutsch at least 7 meetings per semester; ideally go to one every week
Treffpunkt Deutsch: Fall 2023
  • [UPDATE]
  • Lisa Kaltenleitner: Tuesdays 12.00 – 13.00 (Vail Commons)
  • Prof. Denham: Thursdays 12.30 – 14.00 (Outpost)
  • Prof. McCarthy: 16.00 – 17.00 (Outpost. Bitte eine Mail an Prof. McCarthy vorher, dass du kommst.)
  • Prof. Frazier-Rath: [times tbd] (Summit on Main St.)

details / dies und das

  • This class meets five times a week, three times with your professor, twice with your AT. Attendance at all five meetings is mandatory, participation essential. Should you anticipate being absent, please let us (instructor and your AT) know ahead of time. Virtual attendance is not possible. If you are absent you are not learning to communicate in German.
  • You must visit our course website ( daily. All assignments (with links), deadlines, and other resources for the class will be posted on the Stundenplan page. We are not using Moodle for this course, nor for 102.
  • All work submitted for credit for this course is pledged. You record your homework on the various tabs on this sheet called Berichte (reports):
    • When you finish all the exercises in each of the Lektionen, check the box by your name on the Lektionen tab. You will normally do that work and check the box on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.
    • When you finish the Quizlets vocabulary exercises correctly, check the box by your name in the Wortschatz (Quizlets) tab on the Berichte sheet. That will happen more or less constantly all semester! Soooo many quizlets!
  • You must attend Treffpunkt Deutsch at least seven times over the course of the semester. You may attend any sessions you’d like! When you attend mark the date and the session on the Treffpunkt Deutsch tab of our Berichte sheet.
  • Always be on time. German punctuality is really a thing; sometimes phrased as “Fünf Minuten vor der Zeit ist des Kaisers Pünktlichkeit“; Austrians may disagree.
  • You’ll be making amazing progress. Enjoy it!

The learning outcomes for this course are defined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages for the basic user (A1 level). By the end of the course, you will be able to understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. You will be able to introduce yourself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where you live, people you know and things you have. You will be able to interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help. 

Reception— Interaction— Production— 
ListeningReadingSpoken InteractionWritten InteractionSpoken ProductionWritten Production
I can recognize familiar words and very basic phrases concerning myself, my family and immediate concrete surroundings when people speak slowly and clearly.I can understand familiar names, words and very simple sentences, for example on notices and posters or in catalogues.I can interact in a simple way provided the other person is prepared to repeat or rephrase things at a slower rate of speech and help me formulate what I’m trying to say. I can ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics.I can write a short, simple postcard, for example sending holiday greetings. I can fill in forms with personal details, for example entering my name, nationality and address on a hotel registration form.I can use simple phrases and sentences to describe where I live and people I know.I can write simple isolated phrases and sentences.
Assessment and grading

At the end of the semester you will complete the full can-do assessment sheet. Download a copy here. [update, this link for fall 2023]

We practice liberatory pedagogy in our course, which has as a key aspect self-grading or ungrading. Read about that here. Detailed instructions about your responsibilities for ungrading will show up in the Stundenplan as we go along. At the end of the semester, we will meet and you will assign your grade.

College Disability Statement

The college welcomes requests for accommodations related to disability and will grant those that are determined to be reasonable and maintain the integrity of a program or curriculum. To make such a request or to begin a conversation about a possible request, please contact the Office of Academic Access and Disability Resources by emailing   It is best to submit accommodation requests within the drop/add period; however, requests can be made at any time in the semester.  Please keep in mind that accommodations are not retroactive.

Religious Observances

Have a look at the Stundenplan. If any of the assignments conflict with a major religious holiday for your faith let us know. We will accommodate your needs.

Names and Gender Pronouns

Class rosters are provided to the me with the your preferred name. Let everyone know which gender pronouns you prefer in English. In German, a highly grammatically gendered language, pronouns are more fixed and less fluid than in English. So in German, everyone will have either feminine class (grammatical “gender”) or masculine class pronouns. Contemporary German uses both formal (Sie) and informal (du, ihr) pronouns for second-person “you.” Grammatical gender (class) in German often maps on to social gender. We will teach you about how this works. We even have a full unit on this in December. You can always address your teachers with the formal “Sie” (you) pronoun, though in German formal and informal address is highly context-dependent and in flux. Address me as “Scott,” (du) or “Dr. Denham” (Sie) or “Professor Denham” (Sie) — all are great. I will generally address you with the informal pronoun “du” to signify that we are all on the same team and are working as comrades toward a common goal. (I will teach you about the social history of this grammar move if you’d like.)

Additional Resources
Academic Resources

Academic Success Toolkit – a Davidson College website with lots of resources for time management, avoiding procrastination, note-taking, staying focused, organization strategies, study skills, test-taking skills, and mindfulness, as well as links for the Pomodoro app and Calendarpedia templates.

Center for Teaching and Learning: Davidson’s Center for Teaching and Learning, located in the library, houses the Writing Center, the Speaking Center, Multilingual Student Support, and the Math, Science, and Econ Center.  

Data CATS (Consulting, Analytics and Tutoring Services) is a team of faculty and student consultants with expertise in a broad range of data science methods and software tools. They can help with any statistics or data-related assignment. Data CATS is available for drop-in office hours: 3-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Check in on Zoom at or (subject to staffing constraints) meet in person at the Hurt Hub

(210 Delburg). Weekday afternoon office hours begin August 23. Sunday and evening hours begin August 30.

Davidson Writer: Academic Writing Resources for Students – the Davidson Writer offers:

–   a discussion of the general nature and form of written argument,

–   techniques for fashioning robust theses and claims,

–   methods for responding to the work of scholars and other intellectual writers,

–   tactics for drafting and revising, and

–   techniques for styling sophisticated and readable sentences.

*Of special note is a section on the Ethical Use of Sources and “Using Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism”, which includes a discussion of academic integrity, a definition of plagiarism, and examples of proper and improper uses of sources. 

Dean Rusk: The Dean Rusk International Studies Program at Davidson houses the Office of Education Abroad, administers student grants for study and travel, and organizes internationally themed programming (lectures & other events) throughout the year.  

Honor Code: When in doubt, you can refresh your memory about the Davidson College Honor Code here.

Hurt Hub at Davidson houses the Data Lab and offers skill-building workshops, non-credit classes in innovation and entrepreneurship, and access to micro-internships

Library Materials: Search the library catalog to find items in the library’s collection. To explore databases and additional research tools, visit the A-Z database list:, or browse the subject guides to get started.

Media Consultants: Media Consultants are available to help students with a variety of digital media projects using technology platforms such as Davidson Domains, the Adobe Creative Suite, iMovie, podcasting, and more. 

Research and Digital Project Assistance: Schedule an appointment with library staff or peer tutors to discuss research and digital project needs. Visit to set up an appointment. 

Technology and Innovation (T & I): This page includes a searchable “answers online” database of known issues, and information about the Student Techdesk location and hours.

Writing Resources (in addition to the Davidson Writer, listed above):

The Nature of Writing: writing guide focused on mechanics (grammar, sentence structure, citation, etc.)

The Writer’s Diet: a website with lots of great writing advice. For example, you can copy passages from your paper into “The Test” to see whether your writing is lean and lovely.

Using Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism: a comprehensive resource from the Davidson College Library for using sources ethically and avoiding plagiarism. 

The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL): This link takes you directly to the information about MLA style, but the website has resources on many writing-related topics, including grammar exercises, should you feel the need for polishing on that front.

Writing Introductions

Writing Conclusions

Other Resources:

After hours emergency care: If you need support for a physical or psychological issue after hours, you can find the appropriate campus resources listed here.

Counseling: The counseling office offers free counseling to all enrolled Davidson Students. 

Eco-distress: are you struggling with the weight of global environmental change?  Counselor Susan Denny at the Center for Student Health & Wellbeing has a background in ecotherapy.

Health and Well-being: Davidson’s Center for Student Health and Well-Being provides services to all full-time students. Most are free of charge. Our office, which offers both health and counseling services, is located at the corner of North Main Street and Glasgow Street.  This list of Resources by Topic includes racial justice/racial trauma, immigration, addictions, eating disorders, grief and loss, relationships, managing stress, and much more.

International Students:  this office is “dedicated to assisting international students in their adjustment to U.S. culture and education, to being a resource on immigration matters, to coordinating quality educational and social programming and much more.”

LGBTQ+ Resources work toward enhancing the campus climate and support services for LGBTQIA+ students at Davidson College through education, advocacy, and community building.

Lula Bell’s Resource Center: as their webpage explains, Lula Bell’s “offers resources that include: food, professional clothing, winter clothing, textbooks and personal hygiene items. Programming in the space focuses on life skills for all students on topics ranging from financial literacy to systemic social issues. Lula Bell’s is designed to feel like a home where everyone is welcome.” Email:

Mindfulness Meditation: You can find free mindfulness meditations at:

The Chaplain’s Office website details these Meditation and Reflection Spaces:

The Oasis:  open daily, 7 am -11 pm, in the Chaplains’ Office on the top floor of the Union, by the elevator. 

The Nest: in a room on the second floor of the library (near the printer), with zafu, beanbag chair, and yoga mats.

The Davidson Labyrinth: a red-brick pathway and peace garden, located under the trees of Hobart Park (behind the athletic field scoreboard, between Faculty Drive and Baker Drive). The labyrinth is lit at night, making it accessible any time.

The Meditation Sunroom: a light-filled sunroom on the back of the Spencer-Weinstein Center for Community and Justice (SWC) with wooden flooring and meditation cushions. The sunroom is available any time the SWC is open.

Report Bias or Hate Crime: If you have been the target of a bias incident (or have witnessed a bias incident) you may complete the online form or contact Dre Domingue, Assistant Dean of Students for Diversity and Inclusion at or 704-894-2661.  If you are the victim of a hate crime, or are a bystander to a hate crime, immediately dial 911. 

Sexual Misconduct:
“Davidson College is committed to creating and maintaining an environment that is free of sexual misconduct, stalking, and relationship abuse and violence, and that promotes a healthy spirit of responsibility, dignity, and respect in matters of sexual conduct and interpersonal relationships. The college does not condone and will not tolerate sexual misconduct, stalking, or relationship abuse or violence.”

Title IX makes it clear that violence and harassment based on sex and gender are Civil Rights offenses subject to the same kinds of accountability and the same kinds of support applied to offenses against other protected categories such as race, national origin, etc. Davidson College is committed to providing maximum support for all students who have experienced sexual misconduct and strongly encourages students to report any incident. All college services are available to survivors of sexual misconduct, regardless of whether or not a student intends to file a formal complaint. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you can get support and resources from the Dean of Students Office and Public Safety & Campus Police.

For more information, visit the website:

Undocumented and DACA students have access to legal services, counseling, funding, study abroad, and advising resources on campus.

The college has a webpage with contact numbers for counseling, health services, and police, including:

  • Campus Police non-emergency lines: 704-894-2178 or 704-892-7773; call 911 for emergencies.
  • Dean of Students Office: 704-894-2225
  • Health Center: 704-894-2300
  • Nurse’s Pager: 704-337-7047
  • Counseling Center: 704-444-2400 / Counselor on-call after hours: 704-894-2451
  • Suicide Hotline: 704-358-2800
  • Chaplain’s Office: 704-894-2423
  • Carley Dix, Title IX Coordinator: 704-894-2591
  • Town of Davidson Police Department non-emergency line: 704-892-5131; 911 for emergencies.