Learning about Consensus and Code of Conduct through Choosing a School Mascot

At Frankford Friends School, we are always thinking about how to integrate the various areas of our classroom curriculum (academic, social, and emotional), our Quaker values, and life skills such as persuasive writing and public speaking.

This month, our students have been learning about consensus and our Code of Conduct through choosing a new school mascot. The students were presented with five animals native to our area (bobcat, great blue heron, owl, river otter, and honey bee) and were asked to do research on them during class.

After learning about the animals, the students then compared each animal’s qualities to those of the FFS Code of Conduct (which is based on the Quaker SPICES):

  1. We respect our community.
  2. We cooperate peacefully.
  3. We are all equally important.
  4. We always do our best.

Some students made comparisons using Venn diagrams. Others participated in debates. All students actively shared their opinions, listened to the opinions of others, and kept an open mind during discussion. In Quaker fashion, each class came to consensus on their choice for the FFS mascot and prepared a persuasive presentation to share during All-School Assembly. The presentations provided an opportunity for the students to hear other people’s opinions and to spend additional time reflecting on ideas.

Every presentation was exciting and varied. It was wonderful to see each class’s voice and style of presentation. For example, the Pre-Kindergarten created a video in support of their choice, the honeybee, in which they gave compelling reasons to choose the honeybee as a great collaborator and friend. The fifth graders supported the bobcat by singing and dancing to an original cover of “You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Bobcat. The seventh grade carefully assessed the possibilities, but decided that another option needed to be presented for consideration. They had many reasons why the fox should be our school mascot, one of which was that George Fox founded Quakerism in the 17th century. The eighth graders advocated for their favorite, with a speech given by their candidate, the river otter, who was introduced by his “significant otter,” and who was available to answer questions from the “press.” Every grade shared a wonderful presentation that we all enjoyed.

Finally, the whole community had one last opportunity to give input. After a few days to reflect on the ideas presented during assembly, every student and faculty member colored in one square on a graph to represent which animal earned her/his individual support. The First Graders analyzed the data and reported the results to the community. As you can see below, the River Otter was the clear choice! All of the students learned that keeping an open mind and making decisions through consensus ensure that everyone accepts the decision without dissent.

Frankford Friends School is committed to creating a school environment for children and adults that is respectful, safe, inclusive, cooperative, and peaceful.  We love that our new mascot will serve as a reminder of this commitment.