I combine this activity with other activies as part of an individualized "Novel Study." As students read a novel (student or teacher chosen), they note a specified number of unfamilar or interesting vocabulary words. For each word, the student writes a sentence that is NOT a definition, being sure to use the word correctly, then illustrates his/her sentence. Depending on the students' ages, grammar and spelling can become an issue, and the picture's quality can be adjusted.
I find my students using words they've absorbed this way in their own writing and speaking.