Rose, Thorn, Bud 5/31 #sol23

Once or twice a month, I ask my Advisory students to share a rose, thorn, and bud as a quick check-in about how their week is going. (Fair warning: bud can be a tricky word for some high schoolers. “The flower kind!” I say. “The kind that opens into a beautiful flower! Think: something you’re hopeful about!”)


I recently discovered that on Mondays and Tuesdays every week, a local animal clinic takes up to three feral cats per colony for low-cost TNR. In the past two weeks, I’ve trapped and neutered three cats. I’m so excited every time a cat goes into the trap and triggers the mechanism! While they’re being prepped for surgery, they also get a check-up and treatment. Two of the three cats we’ve brought in have been sick or had a wound that needed treating, so this has been a great way to get some free vet care to get them healthy. Best of all, Mango, one of two female cats in the colony I care for, has now been spayed. I had hoped to trap the female cats first to avoid kitten season, and I’m now halfway to that goal.


I have procrastinated on a major writing task and now face a pressing deadline–and still no motivation to write. I have a meeting at 1:30 today to review written commentary that has yet to be written. I’m going to get a second cup of coffee and hope to wrangle my brain into forming coherent sentences very quickly.


For much of last week, an upcoming high-stakes assessment has been my thorn, but I am starting to feel optimistic about my students’ level of preparation and ability to jump through this particular hoop successfully. Also, by the end of the week they will be finished with their writing, and we can move on to other things.

Do you have a rose, thorn, and bud for the week?

Photo by Yohei Kato on






17 responses to “Rose, Thorn, Bud 5/31 #sol23”

  1. Jill Bless Avatar

    I love the rose, thorn, bud protocol. Thanks for the reminder to get back to it. I hope your ideas come quickly for your writing task!

  2. Anita Ferreri Avatar
    Anita Ferreri

    I like this protocol but I too would struggle with the bud. Perhaps your required writing will be spurred by the SOL group this morning!

  3. Trina Avatar

    I have used this protocol with my students, too. I haven’t done this in a while though – it’s a good reminder to circle back to this. We have standardized testing this week, too. I am not as positive about it as you are – I see it as a thorn!

  4. Teachingnest87 Avatar

    Thanks for sharing this structure. I love all the new ideas I get during the challenge. Best of luck with the writing. I think this is a structure I could use with my 2nd graders as well. Hopefully their minds will not yet jump to other conclusions with the word bud. Although I am not a cat person, I appreciate all you are doing to help the feral cats in your community.

  5. Amanda Potts Avatar

    A friend used to do this with her children every night before bed, but I haven’t thought about it in a long time. I might have to borrow this format from you. And I’m impressed that you’ve trapped three feral cats already. Good for you! Here’s hoping you get all the females before kitten season.

  6. WOWilkinson Avatar

    Thanks for sharing. I can imagine the reactions to the word “bud.” Do you have every student share all three or do they share them with a writing group?

  7. Stacey Shubitz Avatar

    I’ve never heard the bud part of this… I’ve always heard about the rose and thorn. The bud is promising… hopeful. I like that you include it.
    To answer your question:
    Rose: Lots of new faces and many returning ones for the SOLSC. I love seeing our community of writers reunite each spring.
    Thorn: Wrist/shoulder pain from extra time spent at the computer.
    Bud: Nearing the end of writing a book proposal.

  8. arjeha Avatar

    What a great writing activity. It celebrates anticipation and joy while still acknowledging that things aren’t always rosy.

  9. #SOL23 March 5 Rose, Thorn, Bud | Teaching from an Empty Nest Avatar

    […] One thing I love about the March writing challenge is all of the great ideas I get from other participants. Sometimes finding something to write about is the hardest part of the challenge so having ideas in my pocket for writing structures can help get through those challenging times. Last year I started making a list of links to posts with structures I could use for writing. It’s come in handy so I’ve started adding to the list agin this year. Today’s structure idea comes from Elisabeth Ellington’s slice from today. […]

  10. TLC Avatar

    I used to do this with my family more often. I have never used the bud, and I like that addition. Thanks for the slice idea and the reminder to try to find ways to get back to this exercise in my own life.

  11. Trish Avatar

    I’m using this myself. Thanks, Elizabeth. It’s great when a thorn becomes a bud!

  12. BethMooreSchool Avatar

    Thank you for sharing this! What a lovely prompt to spark some writing. I have used rose and thorn before, and I think for me those are easiest to identify. Pushing myself to think of something promising, but not quite there yet is a challenge — it’s hard to break out of either/or thinking and accept that some things are neither positive nor negative – yet.

  13. aggiekesler Avatar

    I’ve heard of the rose, thorn, and bud thinking routine from some of our middle school advisory teachers this year. I haven’t used it yet, but it sounds like a good way to frame a reflection. I sure hope you get your writing done in time!!

  14. Terje Avatar

    Thank you for the protocol, your examples and a nudge to try it. My rose is the restful break, I was very successful with self-care. The thorn is that some challenging tasks (that are even not supposed to be on my plate) await for me next week as I return to school, . The bud is a meeting with my coach-supervisor and hopefully making progress in finding answers to difficult questions.

  15. Leigh Anne Eck Avatar
    Leigh Anne Eck

    I have used smiles and frowns but I love rose/thorn/bud! This would be fun to use with students too. I think we will see many of these popping up as slices this month, so thank you for that. 🙂 I had a big deadline hanging over my head recently. There was such a relief when it was finally done and out of my hands. Good luck with yours today!

  16. Book Dragon Avatar
    Book Dragon

    As an animal lover, I am glad to hear how you help with TNR. Thanks for sharing the Rose, Thorn, Bud structure. I am adding it to my arsenal.

  17. Celia Fisher Avatar

    I love this format, thank you. Also great news about the cats, especially Mango!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: