Tiering In A Packed Curriculum

When Tiering it is easy to follow the words of both Heacox and Tomlinson in this paraphrasing:

When giving assignments, allow for student creativity.  If you give students the ability to choose the format of the end product, students will not only feel empowered, they will make effective use of the skills and intelligences they have to create a product that will often surpass teacher expectations. 

As an Educator of both Music and Native American Culture I personally see Choice & Tiering so very close that I do not see Tiering as a complete separate entity.  With that said, I do not see Tiering as an issue in an already packed curriculum.  As I have mentioned before it seems quite logical to have both Choice & Tiering in the curriculum especially if it is something that naturally happens in a field of study.

In Music:

Both choice and tiering increases the power of music to touch young lives and empower them.  Music is pure creativity that is both a gift and a talent.  By giving one choice and using tiering it expands the talent and multiplies the gift.

In Native American Culture:

When teaching Native American Culture one is not only teaching about the culture, they are teaching the ways of understanding and knowing the culture.  The best way to understand any culture is to learn about it from the perspective of being a part of it.  This is very complicated especially if one is not of that Race or Culture.  Therefore using Choice and Tiering is a natural way of allowing one to understand Native America.  Native American is extremely vast and diverse.

In both Music and Native American Culture the words of Heacox (2009) hold true: “There is not one correct way to differentiate a tired assignment; there are multiple ways, each directed at the particular and specific learning differences that are present in your classroom.”


Music Performance is already naturally tiered in the following ways:

♫  Large Group Rehearsals & Performances

♫ Small Group Rehearsals & Performances

♫ Solo Practice & Performances

♫ Private Instruction

Tiering in music especially some performance classes can be as easy as “cake.”  Or cake walk jazz to be exact.

Jazz musicians never really lose the melody…they just express it in many different ways.  A perfect example for any that at not jazzers is the concept of different musicians playing and making different versions of the same song.

I use this JAZZ TIERING DIFFERENT WAYS TO THE MELODY as a grand way to teach lessons in improvisation.

Native American Culture

One of the easiest ways to incorporate differentiated instruction into your classroom is when you assign a task you allow for student creativity in terms of what the end product can be.  In the Native American Culture this is not uncommon as each person must find their individual way with regards to many skills.

Here is a TIER FOR THE NATIVE AMERICAN REGIONS that uses various skill levels for showing understanding of shelter.


Heacox, D. (2009).  Making Differentiation a Habit.  Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit.

Tomlinson, C. (2003). Fulfilling the Promise of the Differentiated Classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.


  1. Edith Rudy
    6:12 pm - 6-13-2018

    I like this information too. Thanks, I will tell our Music teacher about this. So glad I found your site.

  2. Sandra Dee
    10:32 am - 11-23-2021

    Thanks for doing a virtual presentation for my classes. We are going to work hard and making sure we do not misrepresent the Native People.

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar