A Mindful Way to Reflect: Rose, Thorn, and Bud

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread protest movements, the state of learning in the world has significantly changed. It has been extremely challenging and yet educators, parents, and students have found creative ways to connect and continue learning together.

At times of transition, we can help our children reflect back on the year – or the month, or even each day – and share the ways they have continued learning. Help them celebrate and build on their success managing these very challenging times. 

To help start the conversation with your students or your children at home, ask them to reflect and be mindful of a Rose, Thorn, and Bud they have experienced. Help them describe new ideas and things they are looking forward to learning or experiencing this summer or in the coming school-year. Let’s also give them the opportunity to reflect on those things they found challenging so we can better support them.


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STEP 1: Define terms for the activity

Rose = A highlight, success, small win, or something positive that happened.

Thorn = A challenge you experienced or something you can use more support with.

Bud = New ideas that have blossomed or something you are looking forward to knowing more about or experiencing.

STEP 2: Brainstorm

Give students 30 seconds to a few minutes to sit silently and reflect on their their rose, bud, and thorn. Then give students 5-10 minutes to jot down ideas on a piece of paper or print out the graphic organizer provided here.

Educators, Explore Mindfulness in our 101 Course

Next Course:

In 101: Mindfulness Foundations, learn practices that can resource you during the school day and daily life, with trauma-sensitive approaches for navigating emotons, working with thoughts and biases, and cultivating compassion and joy. Educators earn credits.

Bring Mindfulness to Your Classroom

Next Course:

In 201: Mindfulness in the Classroom, learn trauma-sensitive strategies to nurture social and emotional well-being in your classroom. Access the Mindful Schools K-12 Curriculum and Teaching Kit. Educators earn credits.

STEP 3: Debrief

Share your own rose, bud, and thorn, and then go around the room asking students to share their rose, bud, or thorn or reflect on the activity itself.

STEP 4: Reflection

Check in after completing the activity and ask students to notice their energy level and thoughts before and after the activity.

A possible extension for this activity is to brainstorm strategies for turning thorns into roses or to describe ways thorns might support learning and growing.

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