This assessment really exposes a student's understanding of the biography. I hand out a paper that is all squares with a letter of the alphabet in each square. Students are stumped by the paper because they all know they are taking a test on Columbus. They were expecting a more formal looking test.
I do explain that this is their test. They will need to find a specific fact from the book that corresponds with each letter of the alphabet. I would like them to try to use the letter of the alphabet as the meat of the fact. For example, Q could be Queen Isabella. They will then add a fact about her to the box. I model this for the class. This spurs some excitement and many of them want to quit listening and start.
Te directions are not over. Some of the boxes will be hard to find a fact for. I let them know that they might have to get creative. Z might have to be the word Zero, but their fact might be Columbus had zero daughters. The last thing I let them know is that they can only use their fact once. So if they use Queen Isabella, they can not use her again as the main idea of the box. Now they have two boxes filled in and they should have a good idea of what they need to do.
It is now time for them to show me what they know. I remind them to use their books and if they do they need to tell me the page number they got the fact from. This is especially important for those that need to use the index to find facts. I am great with them using the index. It shows me they are making the most out of a useful text feature.