Category Archives: KWL

KWL(sw): rose

4/16 Update: One of my goals is to learn more about plants. I am using the ye olde teaching strategy of activating prior knowledge and asking questions. KWL stands for: What do I know and want to know? And, after researching: What did I learn? But just I always pestered my writing students, I also want to include the “so what.” What does this topic matter to me and maybe others? First topic: roses.

close up of a rose branch full of buds in various states of openness. One is in full bloom, peach hue. Leaves are wet.

Brainstorm of what I know (or think I know). Some of this is basic!

  • been around for a long time
  • can be a shrub, cane, or rambler (not sure if that’s the right word)
  • some are scented some not
  • some bloom multiple times a season
  • are susceptible to disease (rust?) and critters (aphids? )
  • there are natives and cultivars
  • supposed to make a diagonal cut when pruning, preferably with clean shears
  • don’t do well in shade
  • I think the root crown (?) is supposed to be above the soil line.
  • has thorns and woody stems
  • rose hips provide food for birds?
  • mainstay of romantic gestures, figurative language, and The Secret Garden

What do I want to know?

  • why are they so revered?
  • where did they originate?
  • what’s the history of cultivation? what traits have been cultivated and why?
  • what accounts for color, scent, bloom time/frequency?
  • what’s their reach now (in what parts of the world do they grow?)
  • what does the supply chain like?
  • what are the ethical issues around labor practices and environmental impact
  • why does Armitage Produce sell them?
  • what’s the best way to prune and cut flowers to promote new growth without creating a messy thicket of akimbo branches?
  • what determines where a bud will form? how does it erupt from the wood? is it always in the same spots?
  • what’s the purpose of thorns (I am assuming protection but from what?)
  • what are the best growing conditions? soil, light, nutrients?

Why do I care about this topic?

Out of steam. Saving this for another post.


There’s so much I want to learn (and relearn). Writing helps me hold on to information. I’d like to devote more of these posts to curiosity, but can barely scratch the surface of a topic in one day.

Maybe I will turn to an old strategy from the teaching playbook: the KWL. What do I already know about this topic? What do I want to learn? And, after the lesson or unit is over… What did I learn? And maybe add an S. So what? Why does this topic matter, even if only to me?

The plan was to write about roses. Maybe tomorrow. But it was exciting to see some leaves today! This is the time of year for quick changes.