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.

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.

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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.

Argos Gonzalez is a Lead Teacher for Mindful Schools’ Mindful Teacher Certification Program. He is a teacher, lecturer, mindfulness teacher and yoga instructor.  He has 14 years of experience teaching high school in the Bronx and teaches pre-service and in-service teachers at Hunter College School of Education in NY.  Argos is certified through both the Mindful Schools Year-Long Certification Program and Little Flower Yoga (LFY). Argos was a contributing editor to Best Practices for Yoga in Schools, and his work has been featured in national media including NPR and The Atlantic. As a frequent speaker at conferences including the Kripalu Yoga in Schools Symposium, Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth, the Omega Mindfulness in Education Conference and the Yoga Service Conference, Argos is an important contributor to the yoga in schools movement and a trusted expert with feet in the yoga, mindfulness, and education worlds. His deep passion for empowering children and adolescents and supporting other educators to do the same, comes through in all aspects of his work.

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