Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Rose, Bud, and Thorn

Shayna Pond | Published: March 11th, 2024 by K20 Center


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Rose, Bud, and Thorn

This reflection strategy is used to get students thinking about what they are grateful for and what they look forward to. Or you can use it after a project to reflect on what they are proud of and what they hope to improve on.

Rose, Bud, and Thorn


Decide what you will have students reflect on. This strategy can be used weekly as an emotional check-in to get students thinking about high (rose) and low (thorn) points in the past week as well as what they look forward to (bud). Alternatively, after a project, you can have students reflect on what they are most proud of (rose), what struggles they encountered (thorn), and where they see room for further development (bud).


  1. Determine what you want students to reflect on.

  2. Define for students what rose, bud, and thorn means in this context.

  3. Model a response by sharing your own reflection on the topic.

  4. Ask students to spend some time thinking about the topic and have them write down their rose, bud, and thorn.

  5. Share out responses with a partner or the whole class.

  6. If it makes sense for your topic—for example, if thorns were challenges or barriers on a project—spend some time brainstorming ways to overcome these challenges.

Lancaster D. (n.d.). “Rose, Bud,Thorn” activity and worksheet for school-wide implementation. Social-Emotional Learning. Panorama Education.