A bush of blooming red roses.

Rose, Thorn, Bud

Students develop their self-awareness and responsible decision-making by reflecting on recent successes, challenges, and opportunities.


At a Glance



English — US


  • Advisory
  • Civics & Citizenship
  • English & Language Arts
  • History
  • Social Studies


  • Culture & Identity
  • Equity & Inclusion


About This Activity

This routine develops self-awareness and encourages responsible decision-making by asking students to reflect on recent successes, challenges, and opportunities. Many teachers use this routine for weekly reflection and goal setting.

Save this resource for easy access later.

Save resources to create collections for your class or to review later. It's fast, easy, and free!
Have a Workspace already? Log In


Steps for Implementation

If this is the first time using the routine, start by defining the terms. Explain that the rose is a highlight, success, or small win that students experienced recently. The thorn is a challenge, frustration, or something stressful they experienced. The bud is an opportunity or something they are looking forward to. Distribute the Rose, Thorn, Bud handout and have students take a minute to think back on the past day or week and then respond to the prompts on the handout. Model the debrief by sharing your Rose, Thorn, Bud reflection. Ask students for advice to help with your thorn. Then have students debrief in pairs or triads, giving advice to help each other with their thorns. Collect the handouts so you can check in on students’ well-being, offering support and guidance where needed.


Follow instructions above if this is your first time using this routine. Distribute the Rose, Thorn, Bud handout or create a three-column Padlet that replicates the handout to create a communal space for reflection. If using a Padlet, after students have finished writing, invite them to give shout-outs verbally or in the chat, acknowledging the roses and buds in the class and offering suggestions to help peers navigate their thorns. If students recorded ideas on the handout, you can model the debrief by sharing your own reflection and asking students for advice to help you with your thorn. Then have students debrief in  breakout rooms.

How are you planning to use this resource?

Tell Us More

Materials and Downloads

Quick Downloads

Get the handout used in this activity, available in English and Spanish, in PDF or Google Doc format.

Was this resource useful?

Tell us More

You might also be interested in…

Unlimited Access to Learning. More Added Every Month.

Facing History & Ourselves is designed for educators who want to help students explore identity, think critically, grow emotionally, act ethically, and participate in civic life. It’s hard work, so we’ve developed some go-to professional learning opportunities to help you along the way.

Most teachers are willing to tackle the difficult topics, but we need the tools.
— Gabriela Calderon-Espinal, Bay Shore, NY