This handout illustrates the importance of establishing a focus in topic sentences and thesis statements. You can also use it as an overhead.
Unfocused: Too many people treat animals badly in experiments.
Focused: The cosmetic industry often harms animals in unnecessary experiments designed to test their products.
Unfocused: Grades are an unfair pain in the neck.
Focused: Course grades based solely on one term paper don't accurately measure a student's knowledge on a subject.
Unfocused: Getting the right job is important and can lead to rewarding experiences.
Focused: Getting the right job can lead to an improved sense of self-esteem.
Unfocused: The Fourth of July picnic was a big success.
Focused: Everyone at the Fourth of July picnic ate well, enjoyed the swimming pool, and had a chance to chat with old friends.