Li Bai (李白）Quiet Nights (静夜思）Old Chinese Poem
Here's an old poem that everyone learning Chinese should know. It goes like this.
床前明月光 疑是地上霜 举头望明月 低头思故乡
Chuáng qián míng yuè guāng Yí shì dì shàng shuāng Jû tóu wàng míng yuè Dī tóu sī gù xiāng
Rough Translation: Before my bed the moon is very bright It is as if there is frost on the ground I raise my head and gaze at the moon I lower it again and miss my hometown
That would be an interesting idea--a "poem" lesson within the Chinese course. So many 20-character Tang poems to choose from. They're a good way to practice rhyme, rhythm and tonal patterns.
Li Bai's "Quiet Night Meditations" is the first poem I learned in Chinese. Simple words, universal message--and a nearly-timely one, since the Mid-Autumn Festival is coming next month.
In addition to Li Bai's poem above, I'm also a fan of the following, Wang Zhi-Huan's "Climbing Stork Pagoda:
王之渙《登鸛雀樓》 白日依山盡 黃河入海流 欲窮千里目 更上一層樓
Bái rì yī shān jìn Huánghé rù hǎiliú yù qióng qiānlǐ mù gèng shàng yì céng lóu
Rough translation: "The white sun leans on the mountains, vanishing / The Yellow River enters the sea, flowing / Wanting to exhaustively take in a thousand miles in one's eye / Ascend yet another level of the pagoda"
(Classical Chinese poems are hard to render elegantly in English--they're so concise, and at the same time so allusive, that translations are usually both clumsy and lead to a loss of certain interpretive possibilities. Still, it's fun to try!)