Narrowing Your Focus

Contributor: Erin Jones. Lesson ID: 11800

It's hard to hit a moving target or listen to a dozen conversations going on at the same time. It's just as hard to understand the point of an unfocused story! Focus on this lesson to learn to focus!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Otter, Beaver
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


If we were comparing a personal narrative to a watermelon, would it be the whole watermelon or just a seed? That's not as weird a question as you might think!

In the previous Related Lesson in our Personal Narrative Writing series, found in the right-hand sidebar, you learned about the components of a personal narrative.

Name the components and discuss what you remember with your parent or teacher.

The components of a personal narrative are:

  • Narrow focus
  • Perspective
  • Mood or feeling
  • Sensory details

In this lesson, you will explore the first component of a compelling personal narrative, and that is a narrow focus or topic.

Let's get started!

In the previous lesson, you learned that narrowing your focus when writing a personal narrative provides you the opportunity to give your reader super-specific details about your story. The more finely tuned-in you are to an exact moment in time, the better you can describe that moment.

Think about it — what could you describe with greater detail, an entire zoo, or one specific animal that caught your attention? By selecting one specific moment as your topic, you can fully develop your story and make your reader feel as though your readers are experiencing the event as they read your words.

Watch Watermelon Topic Vs. Seed Story by Sarah Russel (below). As you watch this video, think about how you can narrow your focus when writing a personal narrative:


Now, take a few minutes to discuss what you just learned with your parent or teacher. Do you understand the difference between a watermelon topic and a seed story? Complete this quiz to find out!

How did you do?

Remember, watermelon stories are large events that may have taken place over a few days. Seed stories are small, focused events that focus on short periods of time.

In the Got It? section, you will practice creating seed stories from watermelon topics.

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