Student participation during coding lessons

I’m looking for ideas to encourage students to verbally respond when I ask check-in questions during coding lessons. I’ve been trying to stop my lessons after the learning levels and before the practice level to ask students questions about what they learned. This allows me to check for understanding and address misconceptions.

Since there is no way to pause the lesson, I’ve been asking them to close their Chromebooks for a moment while we discuss. I do not like having them do that because sometimes I need them to be able to look at their work in order to respond or try things out while we discuss. I’m running into an issue because the students will continue working in Code Studio instead of participate in the discussion. It has become me asking questions and all of the students staring at their screens, almost no one responding to me.

I would love to hear some strategies that have helped other teachers in this area. My students are high school but I’m open to ideas from any grade level. I tried searching the forum but I wasn’t able to find a question like this.

I teach high school too. I only ask for feedback in the beginning and end of class, otherwise they are “in the zone” and it will be hard to get a response. In the beginning of class, I give them bell work (journal), then have them talk to their partner about their journal, then they choose one person from the pair to share and every group has to say something. Give candy out as a reward for participating. Ask for thumbs up or down (to get a gauge of who is done or who needs help).