5th Grade Guidelines

Mortensen’s Fifth Grade Class 2018/19


Students will be discovering why and how the math works the way it does. They will apply it to many different situations and develop their reasoning skills so that they may be confident and independent mathematical thinkers.

Social Studies:

Social studies units are focused on the United States as it became a nation. Students will interact with Colonial times, study the Revolutionary War, and learn about the struggles encountered by our founding fathers as our government was formed.


Science units include Separating Mixtures, Weather, Earth Processes, Scientific Method/Science Fair Preparation, Organisms, and Human Body, which includes Growing and Changing.

Our big science focus will be the Science Fair which is required for all 5th graders.


Students will read a variety of genres in literature, digging deeper with responding to their understanding of the content that is being focused on. Students will also participate in literature circles, an activity which gives students an opportunity to discuss and share ideas about literature. Students will also read in small groups and/or partners to receive the reading support needed for reading success, as well as to be a part of a community of learners.

At home, the minimal amount of time students should devote to reading is 150 minutes per week (30 minutes a night for 5 days).


Writing skills will be strengthened in both creative and expository (informational) writing. Students will be using a “writer’s notebook” as a tool for creating meaningful writing and it will also act as a word catcher for new vocabulary as well as language uses. Students will use various revision and editing tools, so writing becomes a more independent activity and a proficient way to communicate.

In addition to writing during the Language Arts block, students will be responding in math, science, social studies, and reading through writing.

State Testing:

Your child will be taking PARCC /CMAS test this year. These will be in the areas of Reading, Writing, Math, and Science. These assessments will occur in April and May. We will be preparing for the assessments within all subject areas as part of our everyday learning. As we get closer to test time, we will practice test-taking skills. Our focus while ‘practicing’ will be to minimize test anxiety and give students the confidence to do their best in expressing what they know. We will announce exact testing dates as soon as this information is released to us. Please keep the testing dates free of dentist/doctor appointments or vacation plans, if at all possible.


Fifth graders will have nightly reading. Additional homework will vary throughout the year and will include authentic practice, math practice, keyboarding, and projects. You can check on assignment due dates by looking in your child’s Student Planner, or the fifth grade website. We will spend some time guiding students on how to best use this tool at the beginning of the year, but it is up to your child to take responsibility for assignment being written in the planner. We will always post assignments on assignment board in our class to help with this expectation. Any encouragement you can give your child on meeting homework responsibilities will lead to a more successful year.

Positive Behavior Support (PBIS):

The school-wide behavior program, Positive Behavior Support or PBIS, will continue this year at Mortensen. The purpose of the program is to positively support students so they can be successful learners and involved members of their community. As you may remember, the expectations for Mortensen are:

The Bulldog Be’s: Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Ready to Learn

We will continue using the behavior folders, a home/school communication

system, which will inform you of your child’s behavior on a weekly basis. This information will need to be discussed with your child. The folder will need to be signed each week and returned on Mondays. Of course, we hope there will be lots of celebrations!

While this is a positive program, there is a referral piece to the program if

students need this to help them be successful at Mortensen.


We encourage students to bring a healthy snack to school each day. We don’t eat lunch until 12:20-1:00 pm, which makes for a long morning for our kids. We will discuss what a healthy snack looks like, but we are sure you will be their best guide on choices for snack. Water bottles are welcomed, filled only with water, and a top that closes. NOTE: The district policy is now enforcing no food treats on birthdays.

We hope this information will come in handy throughout the year, as questions arise. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns.

Our email addresses:

Mrs. Arent parent@jeffco.k12.co.us

Mrs. Bartuska kbartusk@jeffco.k12.co.us

Mrs. Granell cathy.granell@jeffco.k12.co.us

We are positive this is going to be an awesome school year for all of us!