Hip Hip Hooray-It's Birthday Cake!

article by Mina , illustrated by Peter Cheong

Learning intentions:

I am learning to give and follow verbal instructions so that I can further develop my ability to communicate ideas through speaking and listening.

Success criteria:

  • I can verbally give a description in enough detail for my partner to draw it with reasonable accuracy
  • I can create a detailed illustration by following my partner’s instructions
  • I can reflect on my work with my partner and identify areas for improvement

After reading the text, pair students together so they each have a partner (or group of three if necessary). Instruct them that they are each to think of their favourite birthday cake. This may be one that they have had, one they have seen or one they would like to make.

Explain that one person should describe their favourite cake to their partner, and their partner should draw it based on the verbal description. Each partner should have a turn in each role.

The person drawing may ask further questions and take notes to assist them. Descriptive elements may include:

  • The number of cake layers
  • The icing type, thickness and colour
  • The decorations and where they are placed
  • The cake and icing flavours


Labels should also be included with the drawing to clearly mark and describe each element (e.g. 2 layers of chocolate sponge, pink buttercream icing dripping down the sides, chopped rocky road on top). Remind students that their success in this task is not based on artistic ability, it is about how well they communicated.

When both students have had a turn in each role, they should consider how accurately the labelled drawings turned out and reflect on if and how they could improve. This may include asking themselves and each other:

  • Did I explain my idea clearly?
  • Did I give enough detail?
  • Did I listen to all my partner’s instructions?
  • Did I ask helpful questions?