I had such a nice class last Wednesday with two Beginners' Crochet students who came by the store for Crochet 201. I got one of them started on making granny squares and the other on a crocheted shawl project. It's really a lovely shawl called the Small Talk shawl by Cheri McEwen that can be made with a light DK for summer and a worsted weight for the fall. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/small-talk-shawl.
One thing we discovered as we were working on the pattern is that there are a couple of pattern instruction rules to keep in mind when you're working on a pattern that has lots of stitch groupings and repeats:
1) when you see "(...)" that means do everything in the parentheses into the next stitch or space because the pattern writer is giving you an instruction to make a certain combination of stitches into one particular space.
2) when you see "[...]" that means do everything in the brackets the number of times the pattern tells you to because the pattern writer is giving you an instruction that you need to keep repeating in order to get to the end of that row or round; this can also be done by using "* ... *", which indicates that you should keep repeating what's in between the asterisks until the next instruction is given.