Friday, May 18, 2012

Series of Unfortunat Events - 4th Grade

I am currently reading the first three books in the Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. My students LOVE the books and ask as soon as they come to class when we are going to read. The movie is based on the first three books which is why I choose to only read the first three. If you have never read the books they are funny, scary, full of plot twist, and include lots of great vocabulary words. I have tied in many of the reading skills we have learned all year with this read aloud. Below is a list of all the things we have or will do as we finish the books and watch the movie. 
  •  Plot Line - The students have created a plot line for each story. This was great practice, the students often want to add events that are just details. As we now read the third book they have a better understanding of which events are major and which are details. This will also be used to check the sequence of events in the movie (the movie events are not in the same order).
  • Predicting - We have made lots and lots of predictions. The story really lends itself to predicting. There are parts throughout the story where you can stop and make predictions as well as the end of the story. We stopped at the climax/turning point in the second book and my students created their own ending for the story in groups. Then, shared them with the class and then we finished the book to see who was right. 
  • Mental Images - Each book tells about a new place the Baudelaire orphans will be living. The descriptions of Count Olaf's house, Uncle Monty's Reptile Room, and Aunt Josephine's house are very detailed. After reading the description of each place my students draw it as I read it a second time. We will use these to compare our mental images to the movie.  Each student also drew pictures of Count Olaf and the three Baudelaire children, they are the main characters in all three books.
  • Character Traits - For each of the relatives the Baudelaire children live with we create a character trait list.  
  • Compare and Contrast - We compared the characters, stories, homes, etc. 
  • Comprehension - Each book is divided into 13 chapters. The students take a quiz after various chapters. (quizzes are attached below)
  • Critical Thinking - The students were asked 'Who is Lemony Snicket? Why does be know so much about the Baudelaire children? Why is he writing about them?' This discussion was great! The students said that he was Count Olaf, an older Klaus, Violet's son, a friend of the family, etc. This also was a great why to talk about narrators in stories.
  • Writing - After reading all three books the students will write an essay explaining which book is their favorite. I also included short written responses at the end of each quiz.
  • Movie vs. Book - This is not a reading skill but a great discussion. The movie is very different from the book. After watching the movie I will ask my students, why they think the director thought it was best to change so many things? Also, do they think the story was better told in the book or movie?
  • Fun Activities - I also have given the students fun worksheets now that we are close to finishing. They range from inventing a way out of a well, decoding Sunny's baby talk, decoding a hidden message in a letter. The following website is where I found the worksheets. 
I hope you find this useful. If you read the books to your students and have other activities you use please let me know. Happy reading!

Bad Beginning Quizzes
  1. Quiz 1 (chapters 1-3)
  2. Quiz 2 (chapters 4-6)
  3. Quiz 3 (chapters 7-9) 
  4. Quiz 4 (chapters 10-13) 
Reptile Room Quizzes
  1. Quiz 1  
  2. Quiz 2
  3. Quiz 3
Wide Window Quizzes
  1. Wide Window 1
  2. Wide Window 2
  3. Wide Window 3


  1. I've thought about reading these aloud before. I think I may give it a shot this year. What a wonderful resource! Thanks so much for sharing :)

    1. I hope that your students enjoy them as much as mine did. :)

  2. so my sis was reading the books and I wasn't sure if she got it so i used your awesome website to quiz her. thanks so much