A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning

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Dear Reader,

I'm sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune.

In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.

It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket

Curriculet Details
37 Questions
39 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 6th grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining Latin terms, mechanical engineering, and the High Court. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about tone and foreshadowing. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of diction, structure, and character development. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

The curriculet is being added to your library

Chapter One

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.6
What tone does the narrator set in the first paragraph for the rest of the story? How does the narrator's voice affect the mood? 
Here is a short video about the difference between tone and mood, both of which feature heavily in the story. (This annotation contains a video)
Here is a map of the locations mentioned in A Series of Unfortunate Events. You can see where Briny Beach is located in relation to the other important places to the Baudelaire children. (This annotation contains a link)
A spiny crab has a heavily armoured body covered in short and strong spikes. Here is one variety of spiny crab--the spiny queen crab.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
Why does mist often make things seem scary? 
Executor is a legal term referring to a person named in a will to carry out the directions of the will. An executioner is a person who carries out a death sentence ordered by the state or other legal authority. Most people think of an medieval hangman when an executioner is mentioned.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
Why does Violet feel like Mr. Poe acted as her executioner?  

Chapter Two

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Based on the memories the narrator has shared about the orphans' former home and parents, how different is life for them with the Poe family? 
A Count (male) or Countess (female) is a title in European countries for someone of noble birth. One of the most recognized characters given the title of Count is Count Dracula from Bram Stoker's novel.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
How do we know Mr. Poe is eager to send the Bauldelaire's to another home?  
Early streets were made from smooth stones or bricks instead of the blacktop and concrete utilized today. Many older cities in the US and Europe still feature cobblestone streets. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
The phrase "like a crooked tooth" in this sentence is an example of what type of language? 
This is a short video about foreshadowing--a technique used often in A Series of Unfortunate Events. (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
What does this paragraph foreshadow about Count Olaf? 
In the Hollywood movie version of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the first meeting of Count Olaf and the children is a bit different from the text.  (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter Three

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.7
Did your impression of Count Olaf change after reading the story of his introduction and then seeing the movie version of his introduction? If so, how did it change? 
A theater troupe is a group of actors that travel together performing plays in the towns they visit.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
What do Violet's interests tell us about her character? Does she have interests that are typical of a girl her age? 
The High Court deals with all high value and high importance cases in England and Wales. It has three main divisions: the Queen's Bench Division, the Chancery Division, and the Family Division. This is a picture of the Royal Courts of Justice in London.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
Why does the author choose to use the word "desire" at this point? 
Mechanical engineering applies the principles of engineering, physics, and materials science to design, manufacture, and maintain mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the design, production, and operation of machines and tools. 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
With the way the plot has developed so far, do you think the children will be able to easily prepare pleasant lives for themselves? 

Chapter Four

Here is a picture of puttanesca with spaghetti. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
Why does Justice Strauss have sad eyes? 
Roast beef takes about three hours to cook in an oven. It is most often sliced thin and used to make sandwiches. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
What does Count Olaf mean when he says he "is not someone to be trifled with"? 
A person that looks "like neither a man nor a woman" is called androgynous. Tilda Swinton and David Bowie are both examples of famous androgynous people. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
What has Count Olaf done to the children so far? From what you've read, do you think his actions toward the children will become better or worse? 
A ladle is a very deep scoop used to pull liquids, like soup or sauce, out of large cooking pots. It's like a very deep spoon. (This annotation contains an image)
Quiz 1 

Chapter Five

An inventing studio is a large space (a room or small building) used entirely to design, build, and work on things you make or invent. Georgia Tech students have a great invention studio available at their school.  (This annotation contains a video)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Based on the reading so far, would Justice Strauss adopt the children if she was asked? 
The banking district (sometimes called the financial district) is the part of a city where most of the banking offices, investing markets, and loan services are located. In New York City, the financial district is in Lower Manhattan. The New York Stock Exchange, the Federal Reserve Bank, as well as the former World Trade Center were built in this neighborhood. One of the most famous streets in the world, Wall Street, is located in this area.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5
How does Mr. Poe's response fit into an overall theme of the story?  
Latin is a language that was used originally during the time of Ancient Rome. Today, it is common to find Latin terms used in certain professions and religious ceremonies. For example, lawyers, doctors, and many priests of Catholic churches write and speak in Latin.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
What examples can you find in Chapter Five of literal phrases?  

Chapter Six

"Difficulty adjusting" means that you are having trouble accepting the changes in your life. Sometimes it takes several months to become comfortable to drastic change, like losing someone you loved and moving to a new home.  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.6
How does the narrator change the way you view the word "standoffish" in Count Olaf's statement?  
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
What words in the highlighted section help set the tone for the chapter? 
Inheritance laws can be tricky. Usually, only the people mentioned in the will (called heirs) can inherit. Sometimes if all the listed heirs are dead, their surviving spouses or children can inherit.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter Seven

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
Is the information in this paragraph a central idea to the story?  
A justice of the peace, also called a judge, starts out by studying law. They must then pass the bar exam--a very long and difficult test. After passing the exam, they practice as a lawyer for several years. Sometimes they stay a lawyer for several decades before becoming a judge. Pictured below are Suprene Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
Based on what you've read so far do you think Count Olaf is trying to welcome the children into his family? What examples in the story provide evidence for your answer? 
When someone loses their lower arms or hands in a terrible accident, they often have to use a prosthetic of some sort. In the past, hooks were the closest match to a functioning human hand that was possible. Hooks are convenient, light, versatile and relatively affordable. Though there are presently many alternatives, some people still chose to wear metal hooks instead of a different prosthesis.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
Why did Klaus steal the book from Justice Strauss' library? 

Chapter Eight

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
Why does Count Olaf always call the children "orphan" instead of by their name? 
In a group of animals (usually a litter), a runt is a member which is smaller or weaker than the others. Due to its small size, a runt in a litter faces obvious disadvantages, including difficulties competing with its siblings for survival. Therefore, in the wild, a runt is less likely to survive infancy. Even among domestic animals, runts often face rejection.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5
What does this paragraph do in the overall story? 
Sunny is missing and Count Olaf is smiling. Here is a music video of a song all about the terrible Count Olaf. (This annotation contains a video)

Chapter Nine

Quiz 2 
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.2
Why do you think Count Olaf is so obsessed with the image of an eye? 
You may have only seen small birdcages before, but some antique birdcages were very large, like this one. Many would be large enough to put an infant inside.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
What does "gain the upper hand" mean? 
Often, people with inventive ideas see all the components that create the whole thing in front of them. Violet is thinking of all the specific elements to the tower--its height, width, the type of stone. Below is a engineering drawing of a locomotive, showing all the parts necessary to build one.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter Ten

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
What do we learn about Violet with this sentence? 
There are many types of knots that are best used for particular jobs. Some are good for boating, others for fishing, still others for rock climbing.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
How many times has Violet harmed herself so far while trying to save Sunny? 
Grappling hooks sold at a store look like the picture below. How do you imagine the one Violet made looks compared to this? (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter Eleven

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.9
Does the music written about the tower match well with the narrator's description of Count Olaf's room?  
This is a piano piece written about Count Olaf's tower.  (This annotation contains a video)
Arranged marriages still occur in many countries. Most of the time the marriages are between adults. While the practice is seen as illegal in many places, girls as young as seven are sometimes married to older men.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5
What is this paragraph an example of? 
Kerosene is a flammable liquid often used as fuel for lamps. Usually the liquid is clear or amber colored and pungent.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.5
What is this passage an example of? 

Chapter Twelve

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.4
What does the word "foil" mean in this sentence?  
Set designers create scenes for the theater using wood, cardboard, paint, and other items to make the stage look like the locations included in the plays being performed. (This annotation contains an image)
Al Funcoot is an anagram of Count Olaf. He used this name as a pseudonym when writing plays. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
How has Klaus changed from earlier in the book?  
Stage lights are often very bright and hot. They must be so bright in order for the audience in the back of the theater to see things clearly.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
Why is Count Olaf holding a walkie-talkie during the play? 

Chapter Thirteen

Stage props are items used to make the theater's stage look more authentic. Many times the props are fake and made to look like a real item. For example, these sticks of dynamite are made from red card stock and rope.  (This annotation contains an image)
Stage props are items used to make the theater's stage look more authentic. Many times the props are fake and made to look like a real item. For example, these sticks of dynamite are made from red card stock and rope.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.3
Why do Justice Strauss and Mr. Poe react this way to Count Olaf's announcement? 
Some people only write with their left hand. There are even a few people that write well with both hands. They are called ambidextrous.  (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.6
What does this paragraph tell you about the narrator that is new? 
Placing a child in a potentially harmful situation, either through negligence or misconduct is against the law. Child endangerment laws exist all over the world. Sometimes it is hard to convict the abusers unless there is tangible proof or witnesses to the abuse. (This annotation contains an image)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.6.1
What is the main purpose of this sentence?  
An accomplice is a person who actively participates in the commission of a crime, even though they take no part in the actual criminal offense.  (This annotation contains an image)
Quiz 3